Oct
10

The Bermuda Triangle of garbage

By
The rain was a nice touch.  So was the careful positioning.  Only a clod would just put it down on the ground -- it takes an artist to see the potential of balancing it on the corner of a step.  Did I say artist?  Of course!  It must be something from the Biennale!

The rain was a nice touch. So was the careful positioning. Only a clod would just put it down on the ground — it takes an artist to see the potential of balancing it on the corner of a step. Did I say artist? Of course! It must be something from the Biennale!

I’ve freely indulged myself in remarking on garbage which is left where it happened to fall.  Or drift.  Or be blown.  Or put.

The computer terminal was just one item.  Bags and bags of rubble and assorted refuse of every sort are others.

The other morning, a TV joined the throng.

Same place as the terminal.

Same stupid time (I saw it Sunday morning — but maybe it came to rest on Saturday night.)  But what difference does it make? It’s out of somebody’s house now, and that’s all that matters.

Did you know there’s a number you can call, and the trash-collectors will come pick up any item measuring up to 3 cubic feet for free?

But I admit that calling a number is much more burdensome than hauling it outside under cover of darkness and leaving it there.  It’s certainly less entertaining.

There must be something about this corner that literally drags people and their garbage to it and compels them to leave it there, even against their will.  Flee from this baneful point!  Mark it on your maps and nautical charts:  45 degrees 25 minutes 57.306 seconds latitude, 12 degrees 21 minutes 23.457 seconds longitude!

Does my Mystic Force theory sound crazy?  So does somebody deciding to do this, and going home feeling fine.

I’m watching for what appliance could be next.  A hydraulic olive-oil press?  An incubator?  A cyclotron?

Heigh-ho, as they don’t say in Venetian.

Later that same day, I passed the same spot, and saw that another occult hand had corrected the unlovely or inappropriate or offensive angle at which the television had been placed.  Probably the same person who helpfully folds down the tag on the neckline of strangers' clothes.

Later that same day, I passed the same spot, and saw that another occult hand had corrected the unlovely or inappropriate or offensive angle at which the television had been placed. Probably the same person who helpfully folds down the tag on the neckline of strangers’ clothes.

Bonus:  The orphan battery, the Flying Dutchman of batteries, rejected, abandoned, and doomed to sit on the street for all eternity.  (That’s longer than just some eternity.)  Everybody must know it’s there by now, and everybody ignores it, even the garbage collectors, for obvious reasons.

The only recognition it receives is to be shifted from time to time, by the all-powerful occult hand, which belongs to nobody.  It goes farther down the side street, then it’s put out on the main street by the corner, where everybody can see it.  Then it goes back down the side street.

Before long, I’m going to make it my mascot.  Give it a little sweater and hat in my team colors.  And pompoms.  Then I’ll give it a name, but I haven’t decided what yet.  I’m not even sure if it’s a girl or a boy.

Looking down the street -- which is clearly inhabited, so it's not exactly hidden -- you can just make out its little black body, pushed into a niche on the left.

Looking down the street — which is clearly inhabited, so it’s not exactly hidden — you can just make out its little black body, pushed into a niche on the left.  I think the empty bottle felt sorry for it and stopped to talk for a while.  They might have been discussing who had a better future — the bottle, which eventually will end up in that massive plastic island floating in the ocean, or the battery, which will see generations be born and die without being able to participate, like Scrooge before his transformation.

It's not that the battery will live in total isolation.  There's always somebody who, seeing one object thrown away, considers that to have thereby become sanctioned as a general throw-your-trash-here location.  I'll be watching to see if the garbage collector removes all the detritus but leaves the battery behind.

It’s not that the battery will live in total isolation. There’s always somebody who, seeing one object thrown away, considers that space thereby to have been sanctioned as a general throw-your-trash-here location. I’ll be watching to see if the garbage collector removes all the detritus but leaves the battery behind.

 

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Comments

  1. john servente says:

    Erla On the Giudecca we have an official unofficial leaving place for all sorts of unwanted items. The large walled rubbish collection area for bottles, cardboard and household waste near Campo Junghans is used by locals to leave an almost unimaginable variety of items even though as you mention there is a number to call for collection. Although the rubbish is collected daily in waves; a boat for each type of collection bin only occasionally does a boat comes to clear up the “leftovers.” Giudecchini carefully peruse items for the reusability and choice items disappear leaving only what no one can imagine a use for. Recently a child size bicycle (tires flat, but otherwise fine) was “recycled” within a couple of hours. Having a good view of the area it leads me to wonder about the history of the more interesting pieces of furniture from a very different style of life in the Giudecca maybe 50 or more years ago. It is too bad in a way that the solid wood armoires with patterned real wood veneer mostly get left for the boat not being in the “ikea” flat pack style now prevalent. When the open container boat does come to collect the discards, the well appointed collectors relish tossing items, particularly sheets of glass and mirrors, from a distance that insures maximum noise. And for reasons not understood, some items are not collected by anyone. It appears they fall outside all categories of collection so they then take up residence hoping that someone will choose them or they slowly disintegrate. The local youth help redistribute left items in an effort to get some entertainment from them drawing ire from local some locals. One older man’s mission is to smash any CRT into bits with a hammer he purposefully brings hoping that someone has left one.

    • Erla says:

      Wow. Just about everything you write sounds very familiar from this side of the city — but the man with the hammer is a Luddite of the first water. Though to be fair, if you’re referring to computer monitors, I think anybody who has or has ever had a computer has seriously thought about smashing it to bits.

  2. Bert says:

    If I leave an empty can or bottle on a window ledge, it’s not really litter, is it? Also, any food item that I cannot finish (this never actually happens with me) can be tossed anywhere, as it is biodegradable. If it’s in the canal it’s feeding the fish, and if it’s on the pavement it is food for the gulls, cats and dogs.
    What is wrong with people? I’d like to leave junk outside their house and see how they like it. But they could be so stupid they would not notice or care.

  3. Erla says:

    You’re joking, I presume. You must be joking. If you were serious, I’d say Yes, it’s litter on a window ledge. If you were to imagine the ledge being yours, would you see the situation differently? The idea of tossing a food item wherever you want is only justifiable if you keep pigs, or have recently come to Venice from your village in remotest Bananastan. It’s illegal (ugly, and also uncouth) to throw ANYTHING in the canals. Leaving food on the pavement is also ugly and unsanitary — gulls are made to find their own food, of which the lagoon abounds, and cats and dogs shouldn’t be eating anybody’s trash. However, it is a lovely and humane thought to leave food out for rats.

  4. Bert says:

    Sorry, folks. I should have added this :s), which is, apparently, the sarcasm emoticon, as is this :s and this :->
    No, I don’t get it either. How DO you look when you are being sarcastic?

  5. Maybe the terminal and battery should get together….and live happily ever after??
    sigh
    People can be such slobs….really!!
    Linda Bailey Zimmerman recently posted..~ Henry James….Venezia ~

  6. Karen
    Twitter: Wildpaw
    says:

    I do love this blog! Poor lonely battery. His acidic entrails awaiting disposal. At least he is free from his draining life of toil.

    I’m bothered by the TV. It’s precariously placed, why not put it on the ground? Why leave it wobbly on a step?

    We get mattresses dumped in the lanes near us. But of course! Every hedgerow benefits from a mattress.

    :S

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      Why indeed place the TV on the corner of the step? I asked myself the same question, I also asked it of the universe, but got no reply. So either it’s a work of art for the Biennale, or the compulsive need of a disordered mind, or I don’t know what. Maybe it was on the ground and somebody thought that was objectionable so they picked it up and put it on the step. These are deep waters, Watson.

  7. Natasha says:

    Hello Erla, thank you for your post. A lot of people really don’t know how to deal with all trash that they have around them.I personally think that if you don’t know how to deal with the problem, let other people do it for you. I’m living in Vancouver, Canada, and I was really happy with services of this junk removal company Vancouver. I’m sure they would help with getting rid of the old junk.

    • Erla Zwingle says:

      I presume any other readers in Vancouver already know about this company, but in the spirit of global ecological solidarity, I pass along your note. If such a company could exist in, say, Mumbai or Shanghai, it would be a huge step forward for the planet and its benighted inhabitants. Seems like kind of a waste (no pun intended) in beautiful Vancouver.

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