Monday, September 27th, 2010
“You can learn a lot about a city by working with the trash. As a sanitation worker, I have been through the whole city, inside and out, and seen all of the trash in all of the neighborhoods. You wouldn’t believe some of things that I have found. I’ve seen people throw away brand new things, and I’ve seen people get rid of some really bad stuff that they shouldn’t be putting in the trash.
“In most places, people just put things in the trash and don’t think too much about what happens. One day it is in the can and the next day it is gone. My father was a sanitation worker in Maryland, so I always knew about the trash. I never got to ride with him in the truck, but he used to tell me stories about his work. Now that I am with the Department of Public Works, I see for myself how everything works. It’s not that complicated, but there is a lot of work to it. The trucks go out on different routes to pick up the trash. We compress the trash in the truck and then drop it off at the dump. It may not be pretty work, but I like it a lot. It lets me see the city and meet all kinds of people.
“When I started in this work, I was doing what we call clean and lean. I would cut grass and clean up vacant lots. Then, I went to work on a truck and did routes all over this city. There is not an area whose trash I have not seen. Now, I have been doing graffiti clean up. I find the graffiti and use chemicals to clean it up. Thing is that as soon as we be done cleaning, they go out and mark it up again. It is tough work, but I try and have fun doing it.”