18 June 2014

Trash talk

amsterdam rubbish strike
Amsterdam, the fancy old girl, is on day three of three in a trash collection strike, which, even as I type it, sounds insignificant. Until you lose your place counting the number of doorbells on a block. We're like sheep in a feedlot up in here, peeps. Packed tight and making garbage.

Normally pristine, the city is flooded with things the general public isn't meant to see. A bloody sanitary pad stuck to the pavement. A seagull sinking its beak violently and repeatedly into the tender flesh of a vacuum cleaner bag, sending puffs of dust and mites and wads of hair into the air, occasionally swallowing. Soiled diapers flung open, thick swaths of half-eaten shit smeared on the curb. Footsteps walking through all of the above. Four sick birds in three days, all but one greasy-looking and lying on the ground, breathing fast, eyes feverish. One was missing nearly two-thirds of its feathers. When the wind is angled just right, all of that funk hits the nostrils hard. Scratch that. It hits all the senses hard.

I'm pretty sure that if it continued, the strike would spawn a plague. All right. Maybe I'm being dramatic. But if I so much as sniff a hint of an eye-roll out there, I will swiftly box up proof of one of the aforementioned items and post it directly to your doorstep. Seriously. Don't test me. I'm a champ with a tape gun and packing materials.

Well, that was a weird comeback.

Sometimes a blocked writer's gland is freed up by gazing upon a mountain at sunrise, or a new babe's tiny fingers. And sometimes, reeking garbage. Waist-high foothills of it fanning its fetor through an open front window.

Hey, people. If you've got access to clean air, take a whiff and tell me what it smells like. I imagine cherry blossoms, wisteria, ocean. Horses. Mown lawn. And never, ever treat your trash collectors like, well, trash.