Monday, July 27, 2009

recycled hope

(remember that post about what i'm not? how i'm not predictable? here's the proof: posts about the loss of my daughter and my new recycling cart, all in the same night. don't say i didn't warn you.)

it's like some absurd great blue hope.

several weeks ago, a new-and-improved, bigger-is-better, brand-spanking-new lidded recycling cart was delivered to our house. i use the passive voice here--was delivered--because i'm not quite sure who delivered it. it appeared almost magically, along with a fancy color-coded calendar detailing the dates it would be emptied by that truck-with-a-magical-automatic-arm and an explanation of how the pilot program using these bigger-is-better carts had magically increased recycling rates by 80% or something fantastic like that in the trial neighborhoods. great. no more little overflowing lidless bins and more room for all those bottles and cans. and even old phonebooks now--big news! we don't need no stinkin' bins! the only catch is that the carts will only be emptied once every two weeks instead of every week. no problem; we've got more than double the room in the cart. so we dutifully posted our calendar in our kitchen and awaited the magical first day.

two weeks seemed a long wait.

tuesday, july 21. all up and down the street, neighbors had lined up their new-and-improved blue carts at the specified distance from the curbs and from their driveways. no pizza boxes blew along the curbs; no stray cans rolled down the sidewalks. everyone had plenty of room for two weeks' worth of recycling with room to spare to close the lids. beautiful.

and so we waited (at least those of us with truck-obsessed sons with nothing better to do). matching green rolling carts--for the un-recyclables--were emptied and rolled back away from the curbs. magical blue carts waited patiently as the sun went down on tuesday, july 21, eagerly-anticipated pick-up day #1. wednesday came, and a glance up and down the street showed that we were all holding firm in our expectation of the first collection: the blue carts continued their vigil at the curb. wednesday went, and ushered in thursday. but we would not back down. thursday after work, the first of us gave in. but it would be another two weeks! so most of us held out. friday? more of us lost hope and rolled back from the curb. maybe a saturday pick-up? it would be magical...saturday afternoon, we lost more die-hards. by sunday, perhaps conceding to peer pressure or maybe out of respect for the sabbath, all the carts had retreated. the neighborhood admitted defeat. but would the carts hold two more weeks' worth of recyclables?

tonight, just six days after our big disappointment and barely forty-eight hours after our concession, the neighborhood has rallied. fully one week before the next scheduled pick-up, on the eve of what would have been pick-up morning with our good old once-a-week bins--we don't need no stinkin' color-coded calendar!--the great blue hope has returned: the carts are back at the curb. lined up, tidily, hopefully, awaiting the magic.

it should be an exciting morning.


(is it just about the carts this time? because it's usually not. but maybe this time it is. or maybe it's about persisting in hope, challenging the odds, bucking the trends, defying authority, demanding our rights, keeping our chins up, saving the earth, unting as a community?...nah.)

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