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Over the past couple of months, we here in this little piece of Georgia have been experiencing what I can only describe as a bizarre attempt at a coup d’etat. I could totally understand someone attempting to grab power if the end result involved something big, like, say, uncovering buried pirate treasure, or, I don’t know, the chance to become the despotic ruler of your own entire nation. But no, this power struggle-which has now escalated to the level of lawyers, and judges, and mass mailings of PR “spin”-is all about our garbage collection. People are fighting to the death over who has the right to pick up our trash.
I’m not clear on all the details (which probably means that I’m flunking conscious citizenship), but as far as I can tell from my exhaustive reading of 3 whole paragraphs on the Internet, one group of people apparently believed that they had the right to entertain bidding for new contracts, and then awarded a contract to a second group, but then a third group sought a legal injunction on the grounds of, who exactly did that first group think they were, foolishly believing they had the right to exercise control over our solid waste disposal, and now we, the citizens, are very confused. And also, having to spend WAY more time thinking about garbage than we would really like.
All we here in the Ryan household know is that we were happily discarding away, trusting in the services of the company who has faithfully removed our trash every week for the past nine-and-a-half years, when suddenly we received a letter informing us that this service would now be performed by someone entirely new. Someone we hadn’t chosen. Someone who hadn’t consulted with us before making this decision. And, by the way, could we please send them money RIGHT NOW.
My husband and I are nothing if not extremely resistant to change, and EX-TRE-ME-LY rebellious when faced with someone who thinks they can tell us what to do, so we respectfully declined to participate in the funding of this new, interloping company. Which turned out to be a good thing, because the NEXT thing we knew there was a flurry of phone calls and letters, reassuring us that no, in fact, we would not have to switch garbage companies, we would continue to be serviced by our faithful trash collectors, and by the way, could we please send them some money?
So now it’s become a war of words, with each side fighting for control of the public opinion.
Here’s an excerpt from the letter we received from our current company:
“Dear Valued Customer” (I feel warm and tingly inside already)
“We understand that waste collection has become confusing in recent weeks.” (I don’t know if that’s quite the word I would have chosen to describe it)
“Be assured that we will keep you informed of any changes in your service in 2009.” (I’m sure you will)
“You may have recently received a collection container/cart from either Company ABC or Company XYZ, and you have likely received a premature invoice from one of these two haulers. If so, contact them and request they remove the container from your property and refund any payment you may have made.” (Look how polite we’re being, when really, we could TOTALLY go off on these f*&%ers)
And then, this past weekend, we received the response from the unsuccessful garbage revolutionaries.
“Dear Resident of [our] County:” (Ooh, that’s a little cold and distant-I’m not feeling the love here)
“As you may know, XYZ’s service to the community (emphasis mine) has been threatened (emphasis mine) by the ruling of Judge Big Fat Meany-Pants.
“Unfortunately, [our county’s] goal to reduce truck traffic and increase safety in your neighborhoods, to increase recycling opportunities, to minimize illegal dumping, and to freshen the air you breathe (emphasis mine) through fewer air emissions from trucks has been stalled because of this court decision.” (So apparently they’re attempting a combination of Moral High Ground and Righteous Indignation On Our Behalf )
Then there are many more sentences describing the exact details of their awesomeness, and how their life totally revolves around taking care of us, an “us” who has apparently become completely disenfranchised and heartlessly tossed into the gutter without our even knowing it, but have no fear, because THEY ARE ON IT!!
“It is our sincere hope that the courts and lawyers who have caused this undo hardship on the community and our company and employees will work quickly to resolve this legal matter.
The Hardworking Men and Women of Company XYZ” (emphasis theirs)
I have no idea how this will turn out, but frankly, the only hardship that I can foresee would be if I stopped receiving these awesome, passionate Diatribes Of Righteousness. So here’s to much more blog fodder to come. And to our continuous, uninterrupted trash removal.
Together, we all say, amen.