Do you know where your garbage goes? (Or, "On Strip Clubs, Dumps, and Drunk Yinzers")

Hi. It's husband, excited to write my very first guest blog. I'm not normally inclined to share my stories with the world, mostly because chronicling life candidly usually constitutes an occupational hazard for high school teachers like me. But some tales need to be told, and this is one of them ...

When I'm not pretending to be an upstanding teacher, I'm renovating rental properties. And on my recent weekends, I've been doing just that. Currently, I'm gutting portions of a 5-bedroom house, which obviously creates a lot of garbage.

This brings us to the "transfer station." A transfer station is like a knock-off landfill. You go there, give them $55, and then throw all of your junk out of your pick-up truck and onto their floor. Later, some heavy equipment is used to transport that garbage to the real landfill, which is much farther away and no less expensive. So, I use the transfer station a lot, except that it's not open on Sundays.

So, this Sunday, I brought my garbage home with me, and parked the truck proudly in our driveway. It looked slightly less ridiculous than this load from last year:

On Monday, I rushed home from teaching so I could drive my over-filled truck to the transfer station before closing time. Driving a pick-up laden somewhat beyond its theoretical weight limits is a little bit scary... it's hard to see other vehicles, the back end fish-tails if you go too fast, and you suffer from the constant fear that one tiny piece of lathe will fly out of the bed, land nail-up, and cause a 60-car pile-up that makes global headlines. Or at least I do.

To make matters worse, I got lost briefly on the way there. But I arrived, and in plenty of time to dump the garbage before their 4:45 p.m. closing. The only problem: The transfer station was on fire. Or, more accurately, some garbage inside the transfer station was on fire. But the end result was the same: I couldn't dump my garbage. Head hung low, I drove home. My trash's route to the dump now covered more than 75 miles.

Surely, my Tuesday trek would go better. I called in advance - no fires today - and got an early start toward my destination. Which brings us to our destination:

You probably don't have a transfer station in your neighborhood, unless your neighborhood lost some major NIMBY battles in the past. So McKees Rocks might not be the most affluent neighborhood ever. In addition to the transfer station, it's home to a lot of heavy manufacturing, as well as two really sleazy-looking strip clubs (one of which may be closed, and both of which look sorta closed).

Regardless, it's a fine place to dump trash on the floor. And I was within 100 yards of the trash-dumpin'-haven when I saw a flurry of police and TV news activity in the strip-club parking lot. It turns out that an undercover officer had just shot a suspect after that suspect allegedly tried to run him over with a vehicle. (I learned this later in the PG, of course). Sad for those involved, but it looked as though it wouldn't befuddle my dumping dreams.

I passed the police and TV cameras, drove another 100 feet, and slowed to turn left into the transfer station.
Amidst heavy traffic in both directions, I glanced in my rear-view mirror, worried that police-gawking could cause someone to rear-end me. Fortunately, the pick-up truck behind me also slowed and then stopped as I waited to turn. Unfortunately, the semi truck behind him continued traveling at about 30 m.p.h.

The chain-reaction jolt was sharp and severe, and sent my truck several dozen feet ahead, even with the brakes on. Since this is the second time someone has thought to rear-end me, I reacted relatively quickly. Despite an instant-headache and back-ache, I got out of the vehicle quickly to check on the other pick-up driver, who was acting as the meat to our smushed-truck sandwich.

The pick-up driver was slow to open his door, which provided several scary seconds as the nearby police officers ran toward us. When he did open the door, the police and I were both surprised to note the intense scent of beer erupting from the truck.

Let's review: I'm hauling garbage for the third day in a row. I'm in front of a strip club, next to dozens of police officers and all major local media outlets. I've just been involved in a car accident with a drunk guy and a semi truck. It's 4:10 p.m. on a Tuesday.

I do have to commend the Stowe Police Department here, since I'm pretty sure their 30-second response time is unbeatable. They took the report, and I think they found that the fault was with the driver of the semi truck. Turns out the drunken pickup guy had just gotten off work 10 minutes prior. And although he was in fact drinking as he drove, he was on his first beer.

The stench came from the fact that his icy cooler of beer flew into the front windshield and shattered several of the bottles. I could see things going much worse for him ... and maybe they still will ... but at least it was nice for me to be comfortably in the position of "by far the least guilty and most upstanding of everyone involved in this accident." I'm actually getting that title inscribed on a plaque I ordered to commemorate my selfless heroism today.

So, 90 miles, one fire emergency, one police shooting, and one three-truck pile-up later, I was able to dump my garbage. At this rate, I will be done the renovation project in 2034.

I hope you've enjoyed my tale of woe, and learned a valuable lesson, even if I don't have any idea what that lesson might be. Just don't expect this guest blogging to mature into a Private-Practice-esque synergistic spinoff. I'm hoping my future dump trips aren't nearly as exciting as this one was. Plus, Private Practice isn't any good in the first place. If I'm going to be a spinoff, I demand to be considered on par with A Different World ... or at least Saved by the Bell The College Years.


Lisa said...

Hey now! Some of us actually like Private Practice! And Saved by the Bell the College Years was horrible!!!

Laura said...

Unbelievable! This is a great story and I was totally cracking up. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong... except for something flying off the back of the truck.

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