Saturday, April 22, 2006


The City of New York is getting serious about recycling, so it appears. Evidently, they now have a legion of officers patrolling the streets, inspecting our garbage. And if they find a wrongly classified piece of refuse, watch out. They ticket, moving swiftly under the fog of morning. They got us on Thursday, we never knew what hit us.

Way Groovy Recycling InfractionThe details of violation read as such: "At TPO I did observe in a wide open Grey receptacle 10 pieces of unsoiled paper mixed with household waste out for collection." I can imagine the scene. Officer Rivera turns the corner onto Leonard St., something feels out of place. He has a nose for these kinds of things, that's why he was promoted from meter patrol. As he gets closer, the adrenaline starts flowing, he can taste copper on the back of his tongue. Something catches his attention, a piercing white reflection in the corner of his eye, coming from inside a partially covered receptacle. He fumbles for his gloves, unclasps his ticket book, keeping one hand close to his hip, and approaches with caution. As he sifts through vegetable refuse, plastic bags, used Kleenex, and kitty poo, his revulsion swells as he uncovers not one but ten immaculate sheets of paper. He squints his eyes in the morning sun and curls his lip, nostrils flare. Oh humanity, how you have strayed!

He feels so helpless and overwhelmed, and chokes back his frustration as he takes the only effective course of action available to a man in his position: ticket book and pen. A somber moment always for Rivera, a man of integrity and restraint. He thinks back to the early days on the frontier, a time when outlaw and lawman alike lacked discretion and respect for life, when many a good man fell under a capriciously weilded ticket book. A tear forms in his eye, but never quite matures, as he tapes the violation to the door and moves on down the line.

Let that be a lesson to you all. If you have to throw away unsoiled paper, be sure to soil it first. The Officer Riveras of this world have trouble enough on their mind, the least we can do is tend to the little things.


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