Thursday, July 30, 2020

It’s not beneath me

During my lazy years (approximately 1958 to 1970) various adults warned if I didn’t get my academic shit together I would end up with some humiliatingly menial job, like ditch digger or garbage man. (I was raised among white collar people, many of whom—like my parents—were happy to escape farms and factories and to rise in social status.) While I never became the superachiever they had hoped for, I did well enough to enjoy a decent non-manual-labor career.

Yet here I am, in my retirement years, playing garbage man. 

Upon arrival at boondocking spots, and on my walks, I pick up what litter I can (which would exclude bulky items like mattresses). Because besides being hounded about academic performance, I had it drummed into me to not be a litterbug, to give a hoot and not pollute, and to clean up after my own damn self. Besides, picking up other people’s trash bestows a delicious feeling of self-righteousness. I can feel superior while doing work we ascribe to those we wrongly imagine to be our inferiors. It’s the ones who dump trash who are inferior, not the ones who clean it up for a living.


  1. That last sentence is incredibly accurate.

  2. You are in good company. American humorist David Sedaris became "obsessed with picking up rubbish, sometimes for whole afternoons", while living in Horsham, West Sussex, to the extent that the town council named a refuse truck after him.

  3. It's a great habit with a feel good moment. I was picking up poop bags left by squatters in NV once and found a watch. Anybody really know what time it is, anybody really care??? Yup, tire tramps do. Nature does,it looks pretty good without distractions.

  4. I have a story about my best friend digging a ditch in my yard...
    Maybe later....Where you are you should stop at Summer Lake Hot springs and say Hi to Duane the owner...
    Tell him I said howdy.......
    If you need cooler..East Lake and Lake Paulina close to La Pine and the state park is pretty nice too..
    You seem to do swell , but I try to share my great experiences...

    1. According to their website, Summer Lake Hot Springs is closed for the duration of the pandemic.

  5. I love my garbage man; with more respect than my supervisors anybody who wants to help clean up my home is tops in my book.