Dif­fer­ence be­tween garbage and trash

I will, of course, com­ply with the waste com­pany’s dic­tum against mix­ing my trash and my garbage, but don’t we have enough com­plex­i­ties in our lives as it is?

The Covington News - - Opinion -

Did you know there was a dif­fer­ence be­tween trash and garbage?

I’m nearly 40 years old, and I didn’t know that. I al­ways fig­ured trash and garbage were the same thing, a bunch of stuff you wanted to throw away. You live, you learn. Th e o ther morn­ing, I walked out­side my house and I no­ticed the can in which I dump my refuse (a high­brow word for a bunch of stuff you want to throw away), was still full from the pre­vi­ous day.

There was a lit­tle note stuck to the can. It said, in essence, that my refuse hadn’t been picked up be­cause — and I quote — “trash and garbage had been mixed.” What’s the dif­fer­ence

I hate mak­ing mis­takes like that. Once I didn’t close the cover on a book of matches be­fore strik­ing. It was weeks be­fore I got over the guilt.

I called Ge­or­giaWaste Sys­tems, where I have my trash/ garbage ac­count, to apol­o­gize. They were very nice and said a lot of peo­ple make the same mis­take I did and they were not plan­ning a law­suit.

As long as I had some­body on the phone who could ex­plain, I asked, “What is the dif­fer­ence be­tween trash and garbage?”

“ Garbage,” said a spokesin­di­vid­ual, “are things that come from the bath­room or kitchen.” A quick ed­u­ca­tion in trash

“You mean like bread you leave out for a cou­ple of months and green things start grow­ing on it?” I asked. “Pre­cisely,” she said. “Trash,” she con­tin­ued, “is ba­si­cally any­thing else. We do not pick up leaves, for in­stance, or old fur­ni­ture, or boxes of ma­te­ri­als that were col­lected when some­body cleaned out their at­tic.”

The lady said it was up to the in­di­vid­ual garbage col­lec­tors to de­cide if there is, in fact, trash and garbage mixed on their ap­pointed rounds.

Some­how, I can’t vi­su­al­ize two guys on a garbage truck re­ally spending that much time try­ing to fig­ure out which is which.

“What is it you have there, Leonard? Is it trash or garbage?” one guy says to the other.

“I can’t be ab­so­lutely cer­tain, Elvin, but it has green things grow­ing on it.” Isn’t life com­plex enough?

I will, of course, com­ply with the waste com­pany’s dic­tum against mix­ing my trash and my garbage, but don’t we have enough com­plex­i­ties in our lives as it is?

Don’t we have to deal with in­ter­na­tional ter­ror­ism and the women’s move­ment? Don’t we have to bat­tle traf­fic, com­puter in­volve­ment in our lives and air­planes that never take off on time?

Isn’t it enough of a bur­den that we have to de­cide what to do about Cen­tral Amer­ica, which long-dis­tance tele­phone com­pany we want to serve us and which ce­real has the most fiber?

Oh, for a sim­pler time, when the good guys al­ways won, a girl could still cook and still would, and trash and garbage were the same, both del­i­ca­cies as far as a goat was con­cerned.

It is a won­der that more of us don’t tie a Glad Bag around our heads and tell mod­ern liv­ing to go stick its head in the near­est dump­ster.

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