Me and my Garbage Men!

Posted by & filed under Personal.

Wednesday morning is the time for Garbage in Ville Lasalle.  Comparing to those in City Lemoyne ( Old Longueuil ), the garbage men here are much nicer. They pick up construction garbage if you put the waste dry walls, cement, sand in the extra strong construction bags and if you cut short the pieces of  board and wood and tie them up. Of course, all garbage men, they throw your bucket in the air and you will end up with your neighbor’s broken one.

This job is usually done by the young, say 20-35 years old. Some times you see 18 or 19, over 40, which is rare. It requires strength and endurance after all. I see mostly quebecois males doing this job, one or 2 black origin, but never Arabs or Chinese. Being a Chinese woman myself, I believe I will never see a Chinese man doing this job, neither physically nor mentally speaking, simply because of the fact that 90% of the Chinese immigrants are quite well educated either working for companies or very industrious self-employed.

I have been renovating my 3-plex since winter 2007. Throwing out construction garbage is the other job I can do besides painting the walls. You can imagine the amount of garbage I threw out already, because the 3-plex is now turned into a 5-plex plus RDC completely renovated by me, the persistent hard-headed stubborn Chinese woman! I usually laugh at myself being the best friend of Home-Depot or Reno-Depot, now I can truly tease myself being the best friend with the garbage men in Ville Lasalle.

Being the best friend with the garbage men is dramatized this morning when I got refused by them of taking my pile of pieces of wood! Me and my son worked yesterday evening, my son chopping them short and me piling them nicely along the walkway! They were short enough, so I didn’t go find the string to tie them up. There are thousands of nails in the pieces, but I reckoned it  unnecessary to remove them, spending time for the job that the machine can do itself when it takes them in! Plus it is not possible because of the great number of nails!

The garbage truck arrived at 8:00am. When I have too many things to throw away, I always get up, put on my working clothes and gloves and go out to help them loading the stuff. 2 young guys came running. One is about 20 and the other is about 24. I started picking up the pieces and throwing up onto the truck.

The older one said to me:” On prends pas ca! Il y a des clous! On n’a pas de temps pour ca! Tu dois enlever les clous!”

I answered back: ” Il y a milliers de clous, comment je peux tous enlever? Attends, je peux le faire si vous pouvez pas le faire!”

Nevertheless, I only managed a few pieces onto their truck and off wooing away the truck like a gust of wind!

Then I was angry! We cut them nice and short, I put them nice and neat and still I got refused! Seeing the 2 guys away with the truck to my neighbor on the front, I yelled:

” Vous n’etes pas gentils!” and I picked up 2 pieces of wood with lots of nails on and threw them right into the middle of the street! I could have thrown more, but that’s enough to show my point! Back I came into my house, waning to myself that I have to find the string to tie them up and painfully spend hours removing those nails!

A few seconds after, I heard the truck howling closer towards my house! I ran to the front window to see what it was. There, I saw the truck again backing up towards my house, and to be precise, towards my poor abandoned pile of wood!!

I hurried up, putting my shoes and gloves on again, and stepped outside! They saw me! This time, the driver, an older guy about 36 came down to help as well! I saw them and I smiled! I smiled in a way which seems saying: ” there you go, my men! That’s my good boy!”  They smiled back and started joking around!

The older guy said to me: ” C’est pas grave le, on va les prendre!” At the same time, he looked at the younger guys and looked at me hinting that it was them who wouldn’t take them. I understood and I said: ” bon, prochaine fois, je vais les attacher et enlever les clous!” He said again: ” c’est pas grave! On peut le faire!” sounding quite comforting and seeming to mean that not taking them for having nails on is just an excuse.

Nonetheless, I see the importance of communicating and even fighting! Some times, it might take some unexpected ways to achieve it, like me throwing the pieces with nails into the street! They saw that I worked and prepared, they took into their mind the fact that I got up and was ready with gloves on to help them! I see the importance of self-respect in working and trying myself first to have the base for fighting! I also see that people, quebecois, they have a good common sense by which they accept and adjust their thoughts and behaviors: which are based on the principles of working, respect and the power of being able to choose  to be kind when there is ambiguity!

They could have just simply left without returning( they had their point which could hardly be judged right or wrong) , leaving me feeling angry, but they came back, which touched me, this extra kindness of theirs and this willingness of caring, loving and helping!

One Response to “Me and my Garbage Men!”

  1. Stéphane Volet

    You are lucky indeed to have such nice garbage men. Usually, when they’re working for private contractors, they are paid according to the number of streets they can do. Hence they’re very much in a hurry and will disregard anything that might slow them down (like untied garbage, dangerous materials… ).


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