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The Can Can

New Garbage CanThis has nothing to do with Paris or Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. It’s about the new garbage cans coming to the valley. And I came close to losing 25 cents because of it.

It was snowing on March 18th.  We had a one-week old new garbage can:  that morning Ms. Gloria rolled it out to the roadside--highway side actually, the distinction being important because we had a wager going on whether the state snowplow, if it came, would knock the can over.  I said it would, my wife said not as the forecast was for less than half an inch. No snowplow, said she.

Eagerly we waited at the kitchen window only a little after daylight arrived to watch the automated pickup of the compatible can. It’s really more of a can-tainer, quite high tech. Anyhow, while she was in town the collection was made - manually. Shortly after she came home and got the vessel back to the house, here came the plow. As the can was no longer at roadside we settled on halving the bet and I was endowed with fifteen cents. My wife, always generous, told me to keep the change.

All this began months ago when Methow Valley Sanitation was sold and renamed WasteWise, or some such green appellation.  A new truck was in the offing and it would load the garbage (er, waste) into its maw automatically, we were told, just like in the big towns.

While there were no strings attached to the delivery of the new container, there was information about it. It would hold the same amount as our current Ace Hardware wheeled, plastic container (it does not--it is two gallons shy).  But it does have a serial number inscribed and I suspect there is also a hidden tracking device built into it to help pursue purloiners of putrid packages. Along with lots of numbers, it is personalized with our very own name on the lid. In the letter that accompanied it was a statement that there were instructions on the inside. We checked that out before dumping debris within, and there were no instructions.  But Ms. Gloria was savvy enough to see the arrow atop the lid along with the inscription ROAD and deduced that if we were ever in a strange place that had these space-age containters and were lost, the arrow would lead us to a thoroughfare of some kind.  I have for over three decades been in awe of her intellectual prowess.

I see this as being good for the valley’s economy. Along with streamlining recycling, it will create an entire new industry that will bring new educated people to reside here. At the forefront will be the Garbologists, who will join the surfeit of fish, fowl, mammal, weed, flower, bug and social biologists who make up 90 percent of our population.

This will create an enlarged buying public which in turn will have more garbage and more recyclables and create the need for another garbage truck. There will ultimately be a need for tire replacement on the wheeled new cans and Les Schwab will have to hire plastic tire technicians to fill the need.

So, although we were disappointed that today’s pickup was done manually, it is, in the long run, comforting that we will be able to remember the Methow Valley as it once was.



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