Sunday, January 20, 2019

Gutter Sniping

Image result for christmas tree curbside pickup

There is something going on around here, and if I don't rant about it, it'll drive me mad...der.

In my town, I've observed that some people dispose of their Chistmas trees by tossing them into the gutter (or curb, if you prefer) in front of their places of residence. Then the trees just remain there, slowly turning brown and then browner, and losing their needles until they're just trunks with dry branches sticking out. This situation can carry on for weeks and even months, before eventually some unseen force finally seems to take care of the problem. Whether the owners finally give up and shove the dessicated sticks into their garbage bins, or some frustrated neighbor decides 'enough is enough' and does it for them, I'll never know. I am, however, quite certain that no organization, either private or governmental, has taken charge of the remains.

Apparently these people believe that this is the proper way to dispose of their trees, despite the lack of evidence to support this view. I should think it would be obvious to the former owners of the trees that what they think is supposed to happen never does. As they come and go to and from their homes, or even just look out their front windows, they must see that their tree is still slowly decomposing in the gutter.

There are a couple of factors which may contribute to this erroneous thinking. One is that here in the Northern Hemisphere, the Christmas holiday season starts in Fall, and our very tree-heavy town does have curbside leaf pick-up. So even after the winter festivities, city crews are still scooping up piles of leaves and dumping them into large trucks. I suppose it would not be unreasonable to think that one could toss one's old Xmas tree onto a pile of leaves and the city will take care of it. But...that's not what happens. Eventually, all the leaves are gone, but the trees remain.

The other factor which directly contributes to the belief that the city picks up your unwanted trees is that the city actually DOES pick up your unwanted trees. However, there are some terms and conditions, which of course no one reads.

I didn't know about the city's policy until I had decided to blog about this. Breaking with my usual methods, I decided to actually do some research before shooting off my proverbial mouth. It turns out that the local solid waste company will pick up your tree for three weeks starting December 26th, as long as you set it next to your trash bin on the day scheduled for your usual visit from the "garbage man".

I think the operative words there are "next to". If you just chuck the tree into the gutter, instead of making it obvious that it belongs with your other waste, well, I think the garbage men are going to ignore it. And if you toss your tree into the street after the three week deadline (which many people seem to do), then there it shall remain until the sun burns out.

So, while I'll admit that there may be fairly valid reasons that the average citizen of my fair city thinks that bunging their tree into the gutter is a perfectly apt method of disposal, that doesn't excuse lazy thinking. Once they see that their tree has never been picked up, maybe some of them figure it out and adopt a different method on subsequent years, but I know there are serial offenders in this town.

What really brought this to a head for me and drove me to my keyboard to burden you with my obsession is one residence in particular. A few blocks from my residence, on a route I frequently take to and from work and errands, one house had done the tree-in-the-gutter thing. I didn't think too much about it, because it's such a common sight this time of year. Then, a few days later, two large pumpkins appeared next to the tree. They were whole pumpkins, not carved jack-o'-lanterns, but had been painted up, obviously as Halloween decorations. One bore silver and black vertical stripes. This being northern California, I can only assume that there was the emblem for the Oakland Raiders on the side of the pumpkin turned away from me. The other seemed to have some kind of floral pattern on a white background.

This really bugged me. How could anyone think that the city's limited Christmas tree removal policy would also include your other unwanted organic holiday decorations? What's more, there is no earthly reason that those pumpkins couldn't be put in the waste bin. What the serious hell?

I find this unfathomable. I have half a mind to toss their stupid gourds onto their porch, but I'm sure they wouldn't derive any lesson from that, and I might get caught and beaten, or jailed, or both.

Thanks for listening. I feel better now.