April 27th

Posted by Somebody's Mother on 4:12 p.m.
One month later, April:

April is a time of mud. How do you make poetry out of mud? It's exhausting. Here in the Eastern Townships of Quebec as we inhale spring and exhale mud, it's just ugly and tiring and if this is the way nature is reborn year after year, than I think we need to rethink the system.

Except it's nature's way of telling me something's wrong. Here's what I wrote in my article in the Sherbrooke Record this week:

King Kong the Garbage Can
It’s hard to make poetry out of mud and verily, this is the mud season. Moreover, it’s the season of garbage and my municipality is giving me the opportunity to throw out more garbage than I can dispose of.
Sorry, Stansteaders, but if you’re not there yet, I’m sure that your turn will come. I live in one of those boroughs of Sherbrooke where the citizens have been compelled to pay one hundred dollars and acquire one of those gargantuan-sized garbage cans on wheels. Literally, that garbage bin comes up to my chin. It’s a veritable mini-dumpster.
To say that its size is inconvenient is only the beginning. I used to keep a reasonably sized garbage can on the back porch and it served our family’s needs very nicely. It was usually about three quarters filled by garbage day and not too heavy to schlep out front to the curb. Plus, the nice men on the garbage truck would often wave or wait a few seconds as my husband or I sprinted to the curb to get it there before they left.
Since my municipality believes in modernization, the first step in being modern seems to be to put a few guys out of work by having a mechanized truck that grasps a compatible bin and empties out its contents. I know that many of us worry about taxes but the more people who are employed, the more people who pay taxes. This makes for a healthy society. While many of us would not choose sanitation work as a career, for some people, it’s a job and the job that puts food on the table. Why eliminate those jobs to save money? Is this reasonable economy?
The size of the bin also sends a big message about garbage. When we finally used King Kong the garbage bin, my husband observed that we barely filled the bottom of the bin with one week’s worth of garbage. We’re a family of three right now. One of my neighbours who lives alone was complaining about the size of the garbage bin too. She feels silly throwing out her little bag of garbage into such a huge container. Another one of her concerns was the worry about senior citizens having to push such exceptionally large containers every week.
If we’re also thinking environmentally, let’s remember that such huge containers require a lot of plastic and if we’re building them bigger than they need to be, that means more consumption of materials and energy than is required. That doesn’t sound very Kyoto-friendly to me. What would Rick Mercer say? The government is shelling out big money to make us more energy conscious and probably paying Mercer quite a bit to be its spokesman. Meanwhile, our municipalities are pushing these overly large containers on us. It seems like a conflict of objectives to me.
With the wonders of science and engineering, surely some company could come up with a way to make containers for the way real people throw out their garbage or should be throwing out their garbage. By giving people smaller containers, the municipalities would be encouraging less waste. With the controversy over our garbage dumps these days, that would be in line with what everybody wants: dumps that aren’t overflowing and people consuming sensibly.
Meanwhile, King Kong lives by the side of my house and I suppose that I’ll have to get used to him even if it doesn’t make sense. Maybe I can write a poem about him.



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