January 6th, 2009

Garbage Garbage-men

by Stephanie Segal • in Personal
3 Comments Post a comment

You want a review?

Here’s your stinking review.

I just got back from my morning walk. It’s a balmy -4 degrees in Montreal today, and the sun is shining. But do I have a happy, refreshed feeling as the rosiness fades from my cheeks? Hell, no.

A few fill in facts:

I was walking while pushing my winter-capable stroller, loaded with my 24-pound son. It is not lightweight. I was also walking with my two dogs, one of which was tied to said stroller because he is an unyielding puller on a walk and he annoys me less that way. I was also walking on sidewalks caked with old snow, making them sometimes difficult to maneuver, which is to be expected at this time of year.

Also, today is garbage day in Lachine. And therein lies the rub.

I was heading up a narrow one-way street, where the sidewalk wasn’t much wider than the stroller. Several feet ahead the garbage truck was loudly churning the giant cardboard boxes two guys were throwing into the truck from behind a school. However, I didn’t need the sounds or smells of the truck to know it was there. Tall, plastic garbage cans were strewn along the sidewalk resembling a log- rolling competition, completely blocking it. Perhaps had I been alone I might have appreciated the bonus exercise of conquering an obstacle course. Since instead I had my full brood with me, I was rather peeved.

Not envying the job these guys have to do, I sucked it up and was able to twist the stroller, my dogs and myself around three cans that were mere inches from their rightful place on their owners’ lawns where they would have posed no inconvenience, or, with snow and ice, threat. There was very little wiggle room on either end of the cans, with curbside piles on one side and more than a foot of snow on the other. But we did it and carried on.

Somehow I had caught up to the truck and had to wait as they loaded the garbage directly in front of me. I bit my tongue and didn’t say ‘Hey, would you mind keeping the cans off the sidewalk, please?’. I should have. I would have been friendly and meek, smiled and looked vulnerable, gesturing to my dogs and kid with humor.

Instead I let them do their thing. Having seen me, I presumed they would do the decent thing and start leaving the sidewalks clear.

Yet when the truck pulled off the sidewalk back into the street I saw yet another horizontal can in my path ahead. Wait; let’s change that…in the CITY’S path. Luckily, I had good faith to think the younger of the two workers would be chivalrous if not heroic and move the can off the sidewalk, out of the way of pedestrians, and onto private property where it belonged.

Place your bets on whether or not that happened.

Place your bets on whether or not I lost it at that time.

The guys were already up ahead, crossing to the cans on the other side, when I yelled, HELLO?! Of course, I was drowned out by the truck, which I should have known would happen, being a logical person. Oh wait, since when does logic factor into losing it? So this time I yelled HEY and wasted my breath a second time.

Miraculously they heard my EXCUSEZ MOI, to which the older garbage removal person with cigarette dangling from mouth replied something along the lines of, in French, WHAT THE HELL DO YOU WANT, LADY?   Ah, can’t you just feel the magic of the holidays in this scenario? It gets better.

All I could manage was to say CA BLOQUE (it’s blocking). I don’t even know if that’s proper French but I think I made my point. The smoking man made several exasperated gestures with his hands and said a bunch of stuff I couldn’t make out, and then suggested kindly: GO AROUND.

Ha! Where did he think I was going to go around to? I would have had to strap on a hovercraft and fly over to get on my way. Clearly, chivalry and heroism is dead on the Lachine garbage circuit. I was going to have to move the can myself. Not the end of the world, but if I a woman in winter with a stroller and two dogs can’t get help from two able bodied men who both caused the problem and were right there to solve it then what hope do we have as a people? What a couple of A-holes.

BONNE TRAVAIL (good job) I yelled sarcastically, as I moved the can out of the way. This comment seemed to send Smokey and Young’un over the edge. I know this because Smokey yelled ‘FERME TA GUEULE’ (shut up bitch) (ok he didn’t say it but we all know he was thinking it) while his compatriot Young’un treated me to his gloved and raised middle finger from the back of the truck as it turned the corner.

Wow. Knowing our tax money pays the salary of these two mofos who would rather be rude to and not help someone who clearly could use it, not to mention it was their fault to begin with, and don’t forget oh yeah its their job I am guessing to not litter the sidewalk in the first place (oh the irony, garbage men littering) and to instead return the cans from where they took them leaves me feeling like I might be developing an ulcer.

None of this even mentions how many times my husband has had to call the city to see what the problem is with the garbage guys. Don’t get him started.

All of this is to say my rating on garbage removal in Lachine is a whopping 10% that I will give them because I can’t remember the last time someone gave me the finger and it does make me feel special.



Rebecca said:

I have me own story.
I called 311 twice yesterday.
First b/c they said garbage & recycle would both be picked up Thurs am, which seemed weird.
Again, I was given different [wrong] info.
This am the garbage truck goes past, looking for garbage.
Only 1 person had it out, from last week.
The website where you type in your postal code said info not available.
Can’t the garbage men tell 311 & the website when they are coming?

January 6th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

male man said:

Are you getting your period and thus all hormonal and emotional?

But seriously, what more do you really expect from unionized city employees earning $50,000/yr???

January 6th, 2009 at 9:05 pm

stephanie said:

male man why don’t i get you your pipe and slippers and we can sit down with the Beav? oh wait this isnt 1955? but i’m hearing women hormone emotional jokes. i’m so confused.

but seriously, yeah. don’t remind me of their salaries. the city is getting a call today, that is fo sho.

January 7th, 2009 at 9:26 am

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