Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Cleaning Up Washington One Block At A Time
For a minute I thought I'd woken up in another city or at least on another day. My trash day is Thursday, and this is Tuesday, yet there was a hum of activity and two trash trucks in my alley. I got up. No make that two trash trucks and a street sweeper in my alley. (I've never even seen a street sweeper around here-much less in the alley.) I rubbed my eyes and saw two guys throwing an old air conditioner into the truck. Whoops. I'd forgotten to call for a bulk pick up. Now I was alarmed. I live In Washington, DC- a seat of national, international and of course, local corruption. What was going on??
I got up and saw I was actually surrounded. There were more men with screaming lime green vests walking up and down. There's another truck, a van and two guys with brooms sweeping up pollen out front. Pollen? I still have leaves from last fall.
My curiosity got the better of me which it often does. I went out to the sidewalk.
Is the Pope coming back? I asked the man closest to me.
He grinned and turned to his partner. She wants to know if the Pope is coming back. They chuckled, then he leaned on his broom to talk for a minute. Now I felt better. This is the DC I know.
No- we're just tightening up the block, he said
And he apologized because the street sweeper guy had already made a feeble pass in front of my house- leaving a wide swath of pollen around my car.
I have no control over him, he said. And he treats me ...
Like a guy with a broom, I finished. He being in the truck and all.
Absolute power corrupts, I said, and we both shook our heads.
He nodded and said if I moved my car maybe the guy would be back. Maybe.
Great, I said.
I thanked him and moved my car .
A little while later I heard a lot of bellowing going on. Sure enough the street sweeper was back and my broom guy and he were yelling at each other. And then my street got swept. AGAIN. The whole crew worked my block for at least an hour before they moved on.
I still want to know who is coming to town.