The Antebellum Status Quo – by Jon

FACT: Approximately 23% of my blogging efforts merely consist of me apologizing for not blogging more often.

The Wikipedia entry page for the 2009 Toronto Municipal Workers’ Strike is hopelessly outdated (trying read it and counts the verb-tense inconsistencies.) Both sides of the dispute have been debated in countless public forums, so I won’t reproduce text, but I will tell you a brief tale of how my garbage pickup went last week.

After the resolution of the strike, residents of the City of Toronto were informed that there would be no restrictions on the number of garbage bags that collectors would take. This was a stroke of luck for my roommate and I: having run out of places to throw our trash, we had resorted to using our City-issued blue bin* to store extra bags. After a little more than a month, I was afraid to lift the lid, for fear of what monster might dwell inside the swirling cloud of fruit flies.

(*For reference, residential blue bins are quite large, have lids, and can be wheeled about. You could probably fit three Steves in ours, depending on how you fold each one.)

On our first post-strike collection day, I placed the blue bin out with the garbage at 7:30am. Fearing that the garbage collectors would mistake its contents for recycling and fail to empty the bin, I placed two stark-white pieces of paper on the bin, and marked each “GARBAGE” in marker, and that day’s date.

I came home at 5pm, and found that while our garbage and green bins had been emptied, the blue bin had remained unmolested. Fearing the worst, I opened the lid, and was greeted with a faceful of fruit fly fury faceful of fruit fly fury faceful of fruit fly fury faceful of fruit fly fury faceful of fruit fly fury.**

(**Did you try saying it five times fast? That was my intention. Now, back to the story.)

They didn’t take it. After my silent, tacit approval of the strike, I had been slapped in the face with a bag of month-old fridge contents. And I wasn’t impressed.

You see, there are only two possible explanations for their refusal to take my garbage-in-an-improper-container, and I’m not pleased with either:

1) The garbage collectors saw the signs that said “garbage,” ignored them, and though, “even though this is clearly garbage, we’re not going to pick it up because it’s in the improper container,” or
2) The garbage collectors are illiterate.

Surely if they had picked up the entire blue bin, thrown it in the garbage truck, and driven away, I could have respected their gall and commitment to over-literal comedy (“and don’t call me Shirley!” But no, that wasn’t the case. One last slap in the face for me, the non-residential taxpayer.

And now, to the best of my understanding, we’re back to the pre-strike status quo. Nothing was accomplished, except for exponential population spikes in the local racoon, mouse and fruit fly populations. Bravo.

… and I still have my garbage.



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