Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Glass

[Quick Announcement: We will be back at The Porch in SLC this coming Saturday. It's a late show (10:00 PM OH MY GOSH HOW WILL WE STAY AWAKE). Please come and bring your friends and grandmas. It's a new location, in case you've been before. Info is here.]

You're not supposed to put glass in the blue recycling bins provided by the city. I have no idea what happens if you do put glass in them but the lid of the can given to me has very explicit instructions about this in the form of large pictures showing glass bottles with an X through them.

Recycling is a mystery to me, generally. I don't believe in it. I mean, I do it. I believe we should do it. I want to believe it is a real thing. But conceptually, it doesn't make any sense to me and somewhere deep down I don't actually believe that anything productive is happening with anything I'm recycling.

Also, I feel like they aren't very clear about how much you are supposed to clean the items you recycle. Like, what if there are still remnants of food in the container? Does that render the donation worthless? Does the food compromise the entire system? CAN I GO TO PRISON OVER THIS?!


Despite all of my concerns and doubts, I recycle excessively. I tear items apart to discard non-recyclable portions of them. I feel anxiety if ever I see a guest drop a recyclable item in the garbage can. And I WILL dig it out of the garbage and I will not be shamed for this.

I'm looking at you, Wade.

A while back I noticed that The Perfects have a special recycling bin, which they place out in front of their house on Thursdays, the day after garbage day, NOT THAT I SHOULD KNOW THIS INFORMATION BECAUSE NONE OF YOU HAVE REMINDED ME FOR THE PAST TWO MONTHS.

Because I don't believe The Perfects are entitled to privacy from me, I went out to survey the bin late one night, wondering what could possibly be in it.

It was an odd-looking thing. Smaller than the other bins we have for garbage and recycling. I simultaneously hoped I would discover their clandestine illicit behavior and also that I would discover absolutely nothing shady at all because you guys, I have to live next door to these people.

Upon closer observation at 1:00 in the morning, I discovered that this was a glass recycling bin. I rolled my eyes. Because, OF COURSE  The Perfects have found a way to recycle the item that you aren't allowed to recycle in the other bin. And sure enough, the next day I saw a futuristic-looking earthy truck roll down the street and politely collect The Perfects's's' bin of glass.

It was obnoxious to me that over the next many weeks The Perfects ALWAYS had their glass bin out on the street because y'all. I can't even remember to take my garbage bin out except for exactly once every 120 days when my entire property starts smelling like rotting bodies.

But also, I couldn't understand how the bloody hell The Perfects go through enough glass that they are able to recycle a bin-full of it week after week. WHAT EVEN COMES IN GLASS THAT YOU WOULD CONSUME IN ENTIRETY AND WITH REGULARITY.

And, no. I know what you're thinking. The Perfects are not alcoholics. I already checked. Many times. There never appears to be a bottle of any kind of alcohol in there.

It's so annoying how The Perfects don't have substance abuse problems.

I have no idea how to get a glass recycling bin. I feel like this is probably one of those things where you have to know someone. And in any event, I haven't gone to any effort at all to find out whether this is true.

You guys. I don't have time. Because TV.

Then I realized that OH MY GOSH why am I complaining about The Perfects when instead I could just be using them! So I started collecting glass in a special box in my kitchen and when I developed a critical mass I would take it out to The Perfects's's'ses's's bin in the middle of the night after they placed it on the street. Because sharing is caring and The Perfects should have an opportunity to share.

This was all working fine until last week.

I was slowly lowering a bag of glass into the bin (slowly, so as not to make too much noise) when I looked up and saw that Mrs. Perfect was standing on her front lawn with Dog Perfect, whom she was clearly taking outside to relieve himself.

In my sheer panic, I began raising the bag back out of the garbage right around the moment that Mrs. Perfect and I locked eyes. Now, standing on the street, holding the bag of glass in my hand, I realized that I didn't know whether she saw me putting it in there in the first place and she very well might have now thought that I was STEALING from their recycling bin. So I slowly put the bag back into the bin. And NOW I realized it probably looked like I was stealing from them, got caught, and then put my stolen items back where I found them.

My mind almost exploded with the confusion of this situation!

And I turned and looked directly at Mrs. Perfect and said . . . NOTHING. You guys! I said NOTHING. I couldn't will myself to say anything! I just stared at her from the street like a lying, thieving, creep! This moment of silence went on for almost an entire eternity! Prison sentences for actual thieves have been shorter than this moment with Mrs. Perfect.

Finally, Mrs. Perfect politely waved at me, turned, and walked back into her house.

I have been avoiding contact with them for five days now.

I'm going to have to be extra sneaky when I deposit my glass this week now that they are on notice.

~It Just Gets Stranger

50 comments:

  1. You can be Perfect too: http://utah.momentumrecycling.com/

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  2. Replies
    1. Also, I am fortunate enough to be able to walk to a nearby dumpster at a park to recycle glass. And lemme tell ya, that dumpster is FULL of alcohol bottles. But hey, at least all the drunks in the park are recycling!

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  3. Soy sauce bottles? Hundreds of them? What is in there? You must find out how one family generates a whole box of glass menagerie once a week. I'm dying to know.

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  4. Oh, to be a fly on the wall of the Perfects' living room: "Dear, it may be time to move; the young man from next door seems to be getting a little more odd every time I see him."

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    1. Hilarious! And probably true!

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  5. My mind almost exploded. HAHAHA.

    And, I need to know what sort of glass they are recycling.

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  6. How do you know what rotting bodies smell like?

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    1. It's probably from his time in Palau and my favorite blog post of all time.

      http://www.itjustgetsstranger.com/2012/11/seat-belts-rotting-bodies.html?m=1

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    2. If we are sharing our favorite Stranger posts, then I'd like to share this one.

      http://www.itjustgetsstranger.com/2013/02/dont-eat-that.html

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    3. The favorite post sharing is making me so happy right now! And nostalgic!

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    4. I have two:
      http://www.itjustgetsstranger.com/2013/08/happy-trails-mr-daniel.html

      and the one where you discuss home-schooling, but I am having trouble finding it ...

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    5. I don't have the time or patience to find it to link right now, but my favorite is the one, way back, when you're at the gym on campus and the only shirt they had for you was gigantic. The ones when you're accidentally naked somewhere are up there too, lol

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  7. What about getting your own bin? is that too normal?

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    Replies
    1. No, it would be too Perfect! They already live next door.

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    2. I've thought about getting a bin here, but I think they're actually pretty expensive. So, Eli, you can use that as your excuse should the Perfects ever confront you about using their bin.

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  8. I know they are very strict in parts of Okinawa and Germany, like everything needs to be bagged in clear bags to see that you are in fact recycling. Labels need to be taken off too. My husband accidentally threw away recyclables into the garbage so the garbage man didn't pick up the trash that week, for the whole apartment building!! He had a very angry landlord to deal with.... lol I recently got honked and yelled at for putting my cardboard into a public cardboard recycle bin in a grocery store parking lot. The lady yelled at me to stop because that was for the store!! (no way to stores recycling from half a day would have fit in that bin) the store manager assured me it was for public use and I glared at the lady while I finished flattening/recycling my cardboard.

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  9. Hey Eli - it's garbage day today - you're a couple hours behind me so hopefully this reminder works for you to get your trash out to the curb.

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  10. We get nasty notes from our recycling collectors if we don't put cardboard in a seperate bin and if we don't put our paper in a paper bag. Then they proceed to dump everything (cardboard, styrofoam, glass, plastic, and paper) into the same container in the truck. I don't understand why WE have to separate it for them to dump it all back together.

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    1. Where I live they have the single recycling bin and you aren't supposed to sort and everything must be in a plastic bag, it drives me nuts! A) - I've been to cities that provide sorting stackable bins, sorting isn't hard. B) - They require you to create waste by adding an unnecessary unrecyclable bag. C) - Then the city has to pay people to sort items, when the homeowners could easily be doing it for free. I just save mine and take it up to the recycling center at USU and sort it into the right bins myselc.

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    2. RIGHT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

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    3. We just put ours all in the same container and they pick it up. No sorting needed. Glasses, plastic, paper, metal...just dump it all in. Don't have to clean it although we usually do just so the garage doesn't stink. We can even leave the caps on our stuff. The bad side for us is sometimes they don't get it all in the truck and you see garbage laying around. Then they throw our box back on the cement and it breaks. Hence why one of mine is duct taped together.

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  11. As a kid I had no concept of why people would send items away for recycling, because we apparently never threw anything away in our house, we just reused it. Glass bottles, tin cans, plastic containers, ziplock bags...you name it, it got used for something else after it's original purpose was fulfilled. To this day I still call cottage cheese containers and sour cream containers "tupperware". I have a hoarder's size collection of glass soda bottles because-oh-my-gosh-flower-vases-i-can-leave-at-people's-houses-and-not-worry-about-getting-back. I have to wash out ziplock bags and reuse them until they tear or get a hole. Cardboard boxes are broken down and saved for kindling or to be reassembles, taped together, and used for storing items or moving stuff. At the age of 28 I nearly had a panic attack when I saw my (now ex-)husband put a vacuum cleaner in our garbage bin, it was the first time I'd ever seen anyone just throw away something so large and I thought surely it would be cheaper and better to have it fixed because my parents had a 30 year old vacuum they still used (and probably should have retired 10 years earlier).

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    1. We do most of the same thing you do. Containers, washing ziplock bags, etc... My wife is part of a local swap n shop on Facebook. That vacuum you had would have been sold even if it's broken. She's fixated on selling everything that isn't in use now. It's pretty much like "wow...I can get money for this used garbage...quick, give me everything you don't need anymore...". But what if I need it A YEAR FROM NOW!!! STOP TAKING MY STUFF AND SELLING IT WOMAN!!!

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    2. It it's still serviceable but I don't have a use for it myself I donate it to the DI a local thrift store, especially if it is a big item. But that's if I can bring myself to stop thinking "But what if I NEED it later on?!?". I come by my packrat tendencies honestly, my father was born in 1922 and grew up during the depression, and my mother's mom immigrated to the states from Germany between the world wars. We used to mock my mother and her sister for forcing people to turn in their disposable plastic utensils after a family party, so they could wash and reuse them...but somehow their thriftiness stuck.

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    3. We must have grown up with the same parents, because we had the same "Tupperware ". However, when I was a kid, I'd open the fridge, find a container labeled chocolate mousse and think, "score!"... only to open it and find out it was actually left over split pea soup. That is cruel and unusual punishment!

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    4. We must have grown up with the same parents, because we had the same "Tupperware ". However, when I was a kid, I'd open the fridge, find a container labeled chocolate mousse and think, "score!"... only to open it and find out it was actually left over split pea soup. That is cruel and unusual punishment!

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    5. Or even worse...leftover fat from whatever meat my mom recently cooked. Nothing like opening a yogurt container labeled "something delicious" only to find left over fat.

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    6. Lee my parents save the cooking fat, it's really frustrated when you're looking for sour cream and you find mashed potatoes, saurkraut, peas, frosting, and bacon grease...all in sour cream containers, and no sour cream.

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    7. YES! The sour cream. Thank you I totally forgot about that. I remember looking in the fridge when my parents were away trying to figure out what I was going to do for dinner and seeing the sour cream container in their going..."ooo I'll make perogies", only to find out AFTER I made said dish, it was actually not sour cream at all. I guess I should have known better. Or you think it's sour cream and you're like "YEAH I'm gonna break open the chips and make me some onion dip!!! WOOO!!!" only to have your high come CRASHING down to the ground to crack it open and find peas.

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    8. Pierogies? I knew I liked you for a reason Lee.

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    9. Eli, host a party and invite all. Lee going to make pierogies!!!!

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    10. Ok Anon, I'll bring the sour cream...

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  12. This post simultaneously made me both literally laugh out loud in my office and weep for humanity all at the same time.

    Not to mention a facepalm. A big 'ol facepalm.

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  13. I always read this as the "prefects" like in Harry Potter...

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    1. Glad I'm not the only one!

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    2. OMG ME TOO!!!!!! I'm totally conditioned to connect literally EVERYTHING to Harry Potter in some way...

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  14. I hope the Perfects start a blog about living next to you

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  16. One of the delightfully annoying aspects of getting old(er) is the anecdotes called to mind when someone mentions a situation they, themselves, have been a part of at some time in the past.

    Not that this is in any way connected to your glass stealgiving thing you've got going on young man.

    But, I work in an office with regular trash bins and blue trash bins with the cutesy recycle logo on them. I also happen to work in an industry that spends its collective days under a huge EPA microscope, so we have bins for trash, paper, oily debris, glass, batteries, light bulbs, bodies - foreign and domestic, metal, and so on.

    We have a very sweet, but very old, office cleaning crew comprised (most days) of one man. He is 85 if he's a day. One of his jobs is collecting the trash from the various offices and shops on site, and depositing it in the proper bin. Without fail, and despite repeated reminders, he grabs a giant contractor-strength bag and dumps everything in it together. I don't see what happens to it after that, but I imagine he randomly chooses a receptacle to place it in based on its proximity to him.

    I have no idea where I was going with this, because old, but suffice it to say that recycling is a concept lost on many.

    Also, I hope at 1:00 a.m. your hair was appropriately terrific?

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  17. Recycling is pretty macigal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODu2kbpVSXg

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    1. Thank you for sharing that...it IS magical!

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  18. They do recycle glass, rest assured! My dad works at a glass plant and outside there is a huge pile of broken glass. It waits there to be thrown into the furnace, melted down, and recycled into panes of glass. It looks like a huge pile of diamonds from the road leading up to it. I used to beg my dad to take me to see it when I was little... it never happened.

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  19. Freakin' hilarious!

    Mom xoxoxoxxoo

    PS. Is this "grandma" invited to the porch?

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    1. I don't have any grandmas so I could adopt you and we could go together ;)

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  20. I'm not sure if I believe what They say about recycling. I mean, it's easy to SAY They are recycling, or that this stuff is made from 98% recycled materials, but is it really? I've never known anyone who has ever been to a recycling plant.

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  21. Come live in my town, we have "Single Stream Recycling" We don't have to do anything! Every thing goes into the same bag, and is taken to a facility where they do the cleaning and sorting for you! It's amazing and now I have more time to read your blog. The world is happy.

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  22. Eli, I'm so glad I'm not the only one with recycling anxiety. I have all of those thoughts. Plus, we live in a desert, when does it become worse to use extra water to wash recyclables than just throwing them away? No one seems to have the answer.

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