We's in California

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Another sensless victim of a drive-by recycling

It's quite hard to be environmentally responsible while living in Los Angeles. At least the part of LA that we live in anyway. It's hard for the city to find a common vision of how to deal with problems like these because LA is comprised of many different communities fused together across three different counties. Yet I don't believe this is an excuse.

Other than the fact that you pretty much have to use a car to get to anywhere you want to go, there are other issues as well that stem primarily from the attitude of the general public. I believe I posted a picture here of how bad most grocery stores are with their overusage of plastic bags. Starting, Dayna and I are going to do what we should have been doing all along and bringing our own bags because currently we end up playing an awkward game with the bagger. After he puts one orange in a plastic bag and puts it in the cart, I then grab nine other pieces of fruit, before he can grab them and stick each in it's own bag, and put them in the bag that he had
designated for one orange. It's a race that we realize when we get back to the car the bagger always wins. I seem to remember a few places in Canada that at least ask you if you'll be needing bags, which is a great thing. Of course I would probably be an idiot and say "Ummm, actually I forgot my own again so I'll be needing about 30 bags today."

Then there's recycling. Although I've heard that many other communities in LA have the blue box recycling program, we sure don't have it for our apartment building in Van Nuys. So we must resort to storing up our recyclables in a big container then driving it to the depot which, as you can see here, reminds me of a Vietnamese POW camp. The worst part is that they used to only be open Monday to Friday 8-4:30 so Dayna and I tried to just leave it on the sidewalk after hours. This was justified in our minds because you actually get money for bringing your stuff in so technically whoever shows up for work the next day gets some money.
But I'm sure it was still illegal, leaving crap on the sidewalk. It went something like this: (and remember what we're trying to do here, and that is mainly to RECYCLE.)

It's late. Really late, like past 9pm. We pull up to the compound. Through the mist we can see the barb wire sillouetted by the moon. A dog barks. In the distance a baby is crying.
Me: "This looks good. I don't see anyone around let's do it."
Dayna: "Ok. I'll pull up and pop the trunk, you deliver the package and we're out of here....I love you."
She pulls up to the curb. I spring into action, stepping out of the car and grabbing the lid of the trunk. It doesn't budge, my heart begins to pound in my chest.
Me: "Dammit! It's not open!"
Dayna: "Yes it is!"
Me: "No, you pulled the gas lid thing! It's right beside that. You always do that!"
Dayna: "Oh.
The truck pops open, I grab the container, throw it on the sidewalk and frantically, but ever so neatly, stack the recycling in front of the main gate. I throw the container back into the trunk, close it, close the gas lid thing on the side, and dive back into the car. Dayna punches it and we speed off into the night.

Now that the depot is open 7 days a week we can do it safely and legally during the day on the weekend. Today, dressed in my Sunday best before church, I walked into the depot with the recycling in hand only to realize that around here, the only people who bring recycling in bring it in stolen shopping carts and do it for the money they get back. Everybody pretty much stopped what they were doing and stared at me with my "shave" and my "pants" when I walked in. Ok, that was mean, but I have a right to feel out of place when I obviously am.

I think the root of the problem is that the modern city and especially this modern metropolis are so completely separated from nature that it takes quite an active imagination to correlate our actions with effects on the environment. Nature, being literally out of sight, is out of mind.

On a less serious and far less important note, with each passing day we realize how you can get anything in LA if you want it. You may be thinking "Surely you don't literally mean anything.", to which I reply "Be quiet because yes, if you want it and have enough money you can get it. " Any sort of gun, sex, animal, kitchen utensil, vehicle, furniture, butler, and entertainment you can think of, you can find it. A friend of ours told us that she actually managed to buy a midget telegram for her friend's birthday because she thought it would freak her out. Apparently when she called the agency they informed her that for an extra fee the midget would stay at the party for anywhere from 1 to 2 hours of "shenanigans". Shenanigans? It's the sort of thing that you know is definitely wrong, but still hard to not laugh at.

Ho hum. Hey Ryan's coming out! That should be fun.


  • I am really enjoying your blog. Thanks! You may want to try taking your bottles and cans down to one of the automated recycling machines that give you money on the spot. Usually there's no wait though sometimes you'll have to wait for the guy with the full shopping cart. Don't know when in VN you are but my two favorite locations are the Ralphs at the corner of Burbank and Van Nuys and the one at Hazeltine and Ventura. Look for the big white "cargo container" machines. Much less fuss and the hours are better. For your paper, cardboard, aluminum foil and wine bottles your best bet may just be dumping it in one of the big residential blue bins near your apartment complex on garbage day.

    By Blogger FloridaCalifornian, at February 06, 2006  

  • gareth, im at work and its freeking me out. i am on the 4th (top floor) i have my own desk, a laptop, a pretty nice view of the parking lot, its lunch time and im hiding in my cubby hole area. i think everyone went out for lunch..i got a tour and some training on how to turn on my computer. im scared.

    By Anonymous clitke, at February 06, 2006  

  • Ok. Stay calm. Just look around the room. Look carefully, these will be the objects at your disposal when the time comes. If someone says the word "Monday", just say "Well, TGI...M!" then laugh. This should get you through the first day, after which you can regroup back at the apartment and come up with a gameplan for tommorrow.

    By Blogger Gareth, at February 06, 2006  

  • We live in a house... we have a giant blue barrel into which we put our recyclables (commingled). We (well, the gardeners) put it out Mondays, and Monday night we have the first pickup, where whole families pushing carts walk down the street and rummage through the trash. In case you ever wondered where the people with the shopping carts full of cans get the cans.

    Ever need to have a large item like a TV picked up? Just set it out on the curb on trash night. Watch it disappear.

    By Anonymous Dave the Ubergeek, at February 06, 2006  

  • Chris, if it makes you feel any better, I just started actually doing the board op stuff at CJOB. Here is a partial list of what I screwed up on air: played two ads at the same time, read the weather with the music louder than my voice, plenty of dead air, read the weather while my voice gave out and then just powered through (sounding like a dying Bea Arthur or something) and accidentally cut out 2 minutes of nationally run commercials. Playing two ads at the same time is kinda funny though. Anyway, it's a lot of stress for a show that sucks as much as "Live Audio Wrestling". Love the writing Gareth, keep it up.

    "kra-dow! sad how sickenin
    now get retarded like mad cow kickin in"

    By Anonymous blade, at February 07, 2006  

  • Blade, don't worry about it you're getting your feet wet. For the skills at MY job can you believe I never even used to know the difference between a C++ function pointer and a C# delegate? Unbelievable. So hang in there and 5 years from now when you're working at 99.5 KKLA - "The Intersection of Faith and Reason" you'll look back on these days and you will relish them.

    By Anonymous gareth, at February 09, 2006  

  • In college, we furnished our house with furniture purchased at the auction at the "Rescue Mission" downtown. We would get stuff like discarded chairs from the local hospital for a buck a piece. That and the Star Trek pinball machine, and we had our college wacky-guy Pad in control. Once we bought a large metal desk (also for $1), but it was too big to even get through the front door. (The window was not an option, this thing weighed one ton.)

    Concerned we would get some kind of citation for just leaving it on the front lawn or at the curb, I came up with a genius plan. I wrote a sign saying "Desk For Sale, $5" and taped it to the desk. Nobody would have stolen garbage, but a saleable item? Well, now... The next morning the desk was gone.

    By Blogger Scott, at February 13, 2006  

Post a Comment

<< Home