Thursday, November 18, 2010

Frustrations with the Trash

There is this garbage can that sits in the common area on the bottom floor of my apartment. Each week this garbage can gradually becomes stuffed with newspaper ads bombarded into the residents' mailboxes. If there is one constant in the world, it's that my unopened mailbox is brimming full of coupons from QFC and Walgreens. As the pseudo on-site manager, the emptying of this garbage can is technically my responsibility, "technically" meaning that it's a hassle to lug that thing to the dumpster 20 feet away and that I'm just fucking lazy.

But today I finally decide to fulfill my duties since it was starting to reflect poorly on the property, and as I'm dragging this cylindrical trash receptor up the road, the winter winds begin snatching the various ads for next week's Black Friday Sales and scattering the streets with 2 for 1 deals on USB Flash Drives and the best price per pound on turkeys. I begin to become frustrated, not only at the prospect of retrieving these renegade leaflets of newsprint, but at the incredible waste of paper I'm responsible for disposing of week after week after week after week. My neurotically over-analytical mind begins imagining the corporate boardrooms that make the executive decision to plow advertisements into random apartment buildings because regardless if 90% of these ads become destined to wander the earth as litter, 10% will bring in new customers, and what that 10% spends usually outweighs the financial cost of printing these things.

I began to become frustrated at the fact that business decisions are made at the expense of the annoyance to the people and to the environment. I'm annoyed at the fact that these mass produced advertisements are just prompting us to buy other mass produced products that in the grand scheme of things, is shit we probably don't need. I'm upset that our overindulgence in consumerism is a direct cause to the suffering in other parts of the world and we are completely justified in ignoring it. I'm angry that people aren't honest enough to admit that the holiday season is really focused on instantly gratifying our desires and painted over with the veil of holiday cheer.

This is my thought process within the 45 seconds it requires to take out the trash. This is how ridiculous my mind has become.

I make my way around the corner and haul the horrid reminders of global inequality into the dumpster. I run into the streets and retrieve each and every fugitive paper and shoved them to the bottom of the now empty trash can. Out of sight, out of mind, out of worry.

But for some reason, I was still angry. Angry that we are allowed to be irresponsible with our lifestyle at the expense of the world. Angry that we care about things only when they affect our immediate reality. Angry at the fact that what angered me the most during this whole ordeal was having to carry out a heavyass can of trash in the cold.

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