Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Don’t Put Your Trash in My Garden, and I Won’t Grow Food in Your Garbage

I am on my way to ObamaArms. Michelle Obama, that is.

A friend of ours, a very dear friend, the kind of friend who can also be very useful, dumped a truckload of mulch in our driveway. Due to recent events in our household, the task of carting, shifting and spreading the rich black stuff landed on my list. Husband and I figured the pile to be about five tons. Maybe ten. Okay, let’s call it 50 tons—my job to spread over the little seedlings and sprouts who want to grow and become our food.

A bit about me, for those of you who don’t know me: One might describe me as a willowy blonde, if by willowy one means reminiscent of a willow tree, i.e. arms hang limply by sides and do not appear to have lifted anything heavier than the remote for several decades.

50 tons of free mulch. All me.

That Saturday morning I selected my weapon of choice, a slightly rusty pitchfork, and began to shovel from pile to wheelbarrow (and by wheelbarrow, I mean the back of Husband’s truck). I shoveled for hours or maybe minutes, gritting my teeth against the burn, GI Jane-like, when my pitchfork struck metal.

Dear Reader, are you missing a CD of harmonic tunes? How about a flattened can of Pabst Blue Ribbon? Your empty can of wintergreen dip?

Someone concerned enough about the appearance of their yard decided to rake up their leaves in the fall. Perhaps it was a clear October day, one of those sharp and cool afternoons when the sky is as blue as the default Windows desktop. The unknown raker recognized the need for neatness and order in the yard, yet midway through task he decided to toss his 16 oz Mountain Dew plastic bottle into the leaf pile punctuating the edge of his property. WTH, our unknown raker thought. The city will pick it up, they’ll put it through the big grinder, and it’ll become compost.

Not so, Mr. Raker. The big grinder is no match for your Mountain Dew bottle. Nor can it masticate orange twine for those bales of hay that have somehow become part of the requisite yardscape for autumnal decorations. It does not destroy Dollar General sunglasses, spoons, spare burners from an electric stove, or those extra-long plastic red straws that flare out into a spoon on the end—like sporks but with a straw component replacing the fork. Spraws.

So, Mr. Raker, even if you toss your job-well-done can of Bud into the leaf pile you spent all day raking this fall, you are still a litterbug. (Which reminds me, did we not already have this discussion about how “litterbug” is much too cute a term for the filthy, self-centered, ignorant act of presuming one’s trash belongs anywhere other than a proper waste receptacle? Instead of “litterbug,” how about “Mr. NastyAss”?)

I took care of that mulch pile, and sorted through all the unwanted detritus of your life, Mr. NastyAss. If you need your spoon back, check the county dump.