"Klotz" As In "Blood"

A Testament to the Insidious Impact of Florida Sunshine on Brain Matter

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Filed under: News from the Nation's Dicktip — Steve @ 12:46 am

Q: What has 4 wheels and flies?
A: A garbage truck.

We have an ultramodern system for collecting garbage here in Davie By the Sea (a/k/a Hollywood). Twice a week a large truck with a sophisticated dumpster-lift system rumbles down the alley. The driver carefully positions the lift device in front of the city-issued dumpster, which yanks the unit into the air, turns it sideways so its contents spill out (mostly) into the truck, then drops it back on the ground. This is repeated at every dumpster down one side of the alley, after which the truck turns around and comes up the alley for the other side’s bins.

Except it works like shit. Every neighbor has a horror story or three about trash all over the alley, busted-up dumpsters that shatter when they drop, and best of all, smashed-up back fences and gates where the clod in the truck lines it up wrong so the lift device beats the crap out of the landscaping, fence, asphalt, power poles, and everything else imaginable.

This week they tossed my dumpster so off-line it ended UP in a cluster of areca palms, cracking the trees, smashing the fence, and leaving a wheel of the dumpster embedded in the gate. They also lost a load of what looks like broken up bathroom tile behind, right in front of my gate. I call the city, and they forward my concern to Zeke (not his real name).

garbage truck.gifWho’s Zeke, I ask.

“Zeke’s in charge of inspecting damage caused by garbage pick-ups,” I’m told.

That’s his, um, specialty?

“He’ll call you in a day or two. He runs about 2 days behind each call.”

Indeed Zeke calls 2 days later, and comes out to the house to inspect the damage. He agrees that the city needs to replace the fence, gate, and about a dozen dumpsters down the alley. I ask him if inspecting damage is a full-time job.

“Oh, yeah,” he says. “There’s somebody every day. Lotsa somebodies, actually.”

Anybody see anything wrong with this system? It must cost a fortune.

“Everything’s wrong,” he says. “In Hollywood the alleys are too small for the trucks, let alone the 8-foot arm off the lift. They gotta make two trips down each street, doubling fuel consumption. You still need 2 or 3 guys in each truck, so there’s no savings there, either. And nobody likes it except maybe the contractors who come out and work the fence repair.”

Whose idea was this? MicroSoft’s?

He sighs. “Some people say it’s mine,” he says, with a bitter laugh. “Gives me job security. Long as there’s fences and dumpsters getting crushed, I gotta keep runnin’ all over town snappin’ pictures.”

small_garbage_man.jpgHis cell phone rings, so he excuses himself and I hear him handling another resident’s complaint. Soon he’s off, after telling me to expect a crew early next week. Nice guy with an ugly job.

Back in the 19th century slum I grew up in, foul smelling men in filthy uniforms walked down back alleys behind noisy trucks once a week, physically lifting up metal garbage cans, dumping the contents into trucks, tossing the empty can back down, and moving onto the next thousand. It went fast, smooth, and no landscaping or property was injured. Garbage men made money than teachers, and the work was more pleasant.

Nothing like nostalgia for the good old days of garbage collection.

11 Responses to “Garbagegate”

  1. Ms Calabaza Says:

    you know Steve, it’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. My in-laws’ neighbor was garbage truck driver in Florida for about 30 years. He retired a few years back and has a heck of a good pension and sits around,gardens all day long and goes to early bird specials with his wife in his Lexus. He put his son through medical school. This drives my father-in-law nuts. “A garbage man!”, he says . . . with disdain. Only in America, dude!

  2. Steve Says:

    Ms C: I’m with you. I wish there were more of ’em hauling and dumping garbage instead of being forced to play sky pilot by juggling loaded trash bins 15 feet in the air. This city gave ’em a system that doesn’t work and an impossible job. What fries my buns is that I and every taxpayer and homeowner pay for it.

  3. South Ocean Says:

    In the “good ol’ days,” garbage men had a route, and worked until the route was finished. If they hustled, they could do an ‘eight hour route’ in six hours. If the truck broke, or had an accident, the ‘eight hour route’ could take 10 or 12 hours. But there was a real reward for hustling, for doing a good job. That’s why it was so common to see the garbage men joging after the truck, picking up every piece of garbage the first time around, so they didn’t have to go back out to clean up a mess they’d made before.

    But the cities got attacked by the ‘new and improved’ vendors, and were sold the new trucks (and the lobbyists made a fortune representing the new truck vendors.) Now the two or three guys that have to accompany the stupid truck can’t help speed things along, the garbage men are working longer, making less money, and the city has to hire more people to do the same routes.

    Progress, is, of course, the opposite of congress.

  4. Ted End Says:

    I don’t understand the part about the flying garbage trucks.

  5. FerfeLaBat Says:

    After 13 years of teaching and coaching my father quit when he read that garbage collectors made more than teachers. True story. I remember the day like it was yesterday. Parade Magazine’s “Who makes what?” issue. I believe it’s semantics. Which mess do you want to deal with and how much is it worth to you?

  6. Maddie Says:

    I’d like to go and see this collection route. Is it possible to get a street address??

  7. Steve Says:

    Maddie: Guess you can see why I’d hesitate to put my street address out on teh internets. If not, go back and look at some of the maniacs who read and comment on this blog. But if you send me an email (SSKlotz@gmail.com), maybe we can figure something out behind the scenes.

    FWIW, it’s not a problem unique to my house or street. I think you’d see these problems all through Hollywood.

  8. ClubPenguinCheats Says:

    That’s why it was so common to see the garbage men joging after the truck, picking up every piece of garbage the first time around, so they didn’t have to go back out to clean up a mess they’d made before.

  9. Miami Title Company Says:

    It’s the biggest load of garbage since the last load of garbage, which was Enron,” he told the Tory leader, Ian Duncan Smith, in his most explosive outburst in the Commons yet.

  10. Neil Van Doughlas Says:

    Do they process like recycling the load of garbage on the process typical grinder to reuse it? I think the US don’t have any problem with regard on garbage unlike it the Philippines their got thru on the garbage dump over a tremendous house and besides few citizens was died with that problem of garbage.
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  11. Venus Says:

    This city gave ‘em a system that doesn’t work and an impossible job. What fries my buns is that I and every taxpayer and homeowner pay for it.Anyway, thanks for sharing this.

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