Rules and Regulations

by Clarissa

There is a particular topic that worries Doc, that afflicts his neurons and forces them to work all the time, that torments his sleep, that tortures his thinking, that interferes with his innate peace: THE TRASH

In fact, living in your own house is quite different than living in a condo where you exit your door, walk in the hallway, open the trash room, and throw the trash bag in the trash chute. Oh well, nothing like that when you live in a house and when the city has strict rules on which day to pick up your trash.

Garbage is collected in two different bins, one for recycle trash (indeed, California is one of the states that mostly supports recycling) consisting of plastic, paper, and metal; and the other for non-recyclable trash. Both bins are emptied once a week.

Doc is worried like no other regarding the non-recyclable bin being emptied once a week. Usually, the majority of biological garbage is disposed by the sinkerator, a tool placed in the kitchen sink equipped with sharp and revolving blades that mince and grind all vegetable and fruit waste, and that are then eliminated with running water. However, being Italians, we’re not used to this way of disposing biological garbage, and in addition to that, some waste, such as potatoes and onion skins, can go around the blades, block them and break the sinkerator leading to an expense of at least $400 to replace it. Therefore, we decided not to use it too much but for disposing lemon or orange peels that not only make a good smell, but they’re also supposed to disinfect the sink (and we all know by now how much Doc loves to disinfect…).

Considering that Doc is a human being particularly receptive to perfumes and extremely intolerant of unpleasant smells such as decaying of organic material, the idea to store the trash for about a week before releasing it terrifies him. In addition, the two bins are located in the garage because it’s easier to take them out the night before the scheduled pick-up date.

“Do these two bins need to stay here?” asked Doc as soon he realized where they were located.
“Of course they do. In this way, we can take them out on Tuesday evening” I said
“I don’t like the idea that they pick up the trash only once a week” continued Doc “I don’t like it at all…”
“What’s wrong with that?” I asked knowing the answer
“These two bins in the garage!!! Who knows what’s going to happen here in the Summer. Microbes and bacteria will proliferate at a super-speed rate and the garage will be filled with unpleasant smells of rotten food. Perhaps the smell will even go up the stairs and fill the kitchen…”

With such a detailed description of a biological war occurring every Summer, I start imaging a green and smelly jelly material taking over my house.

“See, they could have installed air conditioning in the garage to cool it” added Doc
“Come on Doc, such an idea is not cost-effective. On the other hand, we can consider installing a chest freezer where we could store the trash” I proposed “or, in alternative, we should build or buy a compost bin and put it in our little patio”
“NOOOOOO, we can’t have a compost bin in our patio, are you crazy? My parents have one, and it’s located at the end of the garden because it stinks like crazy” replies a worried Doc “I am worried about other trash, such as meat or fish remains, or worst chicken bones. We can’t dispose them with the sinkerator, and when they decay, they stink and produce an exorbitant amount of disgusting bacteria…”

After about 30 seconds of silence and thinking, Doc made his final and irrevocable verdict “We’re going to eat roasted chicken ONLY on Tuesday for dinner.”

So, in our home in 1000 Querce we have one new rule: roasted chicken can be eaten only the day before the trash is picked up day. As of today, the day dedicated to this dinner is Tuesday evening, but such day can change if Waste Management, the company responsible for disposing our trash, decides to change the day the garbage is taken from our trash bins.

If, for any reason, garbage from animal waste and organic waste in general will be produced in a day different than Tuesdays, such waste will be immediately bagged and sealed and deposited in the gigantic waste bin in a complex not far from our house. Such rule will be followed also when we’re traveling, and we don’t want to leave our waste decaying in the garage for two or more weeks. We only hope that California doesn’t treat people dropping waste in other garbage bins as criminals…