Trash Nazi

Let's talk about the Trash Nazi--thank you very much Jerry Seinfeld. I am going to let this guy off with some degree of anonymity because I think we all deserve the chance to improve (sometimes with a little direction) without being publicly castigated. Unfortunately for the Trash Nazi, I have to mention that he is a driver for our local bus company, which may or may not harbor in its ranks some Smile Nazis and Safety Nazis.

I got hungry while was waiting for the bus, which is not uncommon in light of my usual dinnertime homeward commute. What was unusual was the apple that I had tucked away in my bag, as most of my lunch is consumed ravenously after my lunchtime exercise. I eagerly set in upon the apple as the bus approached, hoping to stave off hunger pangs for the duration of the forty minute bus ride, and had almost finished as I stepped onto the bus and paid my fare. As I am not as manly as my father, who will often finish off an entire apple--and I mean the whole thing--I still had a core in my hand as I clambered aboard.

As the ticket machine sucked in my ticket, the bus driver turned to me and said, "You didn't just throw an apple in there, did you?" I had, in fact, thrown away my apple core in the trashcan sitting next to the ever-growing ticket/transfer/pass reader.


"You can't throw fruit in there!"

Glancing down, I looked for a posted sign that I must have missed each other time that I had boarded the bus. "NO FRUIT ALLOWED," or, even better, "APPLES ARE NOT TRASH." Nothing.

"Sorry, I didn't see the sign."

Possibly the wrong thing to say.

"Actually, you can't put anything in there. It's only for the driver."

Wow. Using the trashcan had been completely a non-issue for all the other bus drivers when I threw things away. I made a mental note not to use this guy's trash can again.

"Take it out."


I had thought we were done. But no...

"Take the apple out."

My jaw must have dropped, because he repeated his request. Looking back, I wish that I had maintained enough composure to tell him that he could take it out himself, and that I didn't have a trashcan on my person nor felt much like holding a mostly eaten apple for the rest of my ride.

But I was surprised. I took it out and put it in my bag, which I had imagined clean until that point.

As I zipped my bag up, he tipped the trashcan over on its side, facing it away from the embarking passengers. Not the most commonsensical position for a trashcan, but he was trying to make a point. Not that I didn't catch the glare in his eyes as he shooed me to the back of the bus.

"No trash for you!"

The Trash Nazi made the mistake of thinking that, since I was in the back of the bus, his hallowed trash receptacle was safe. After I had been sitting down for a while, he grew nervous about the precarious pile of rubbish that threatened to slide out of his prostrated trashcan. No sooner did he right it than an old lady, who had just gotten off, turned around and placed an empty water bottle in his trashcan. Rather than telling her to fetch out her garbage, the Trash Nazi again tipped his can over, and I thought he glanced back at me as I chuckled at the back bus.

"No trash for you!"

I had an epiphany. Or, perhaps more appropriately, "lightning has struck my brain." That's how Shmee puts it in Hook, and that's about how I felt the other day when this startling revelation was pressed upon me by the Trash Nazi--some people may say or "give the impression" that they care about the environment, but they really don't.

Maybe I assumed too much. The fact that I ride the bus to be more "green" doesn't mean that bus drivers are more likely to care if litter is strewn across the streets. I can see that it could just be a "job" for the drivers. I obviously thought too highly of at least one driver.

Now I'm afraid that I've sounded a bit harsh or peevish. What's a couple pieces of trash, anyway? In my defense, how much trash would end up on the ground outside the bus if one person at every bus stop conveniently dropped their garbage on the ground instead of placing it in a can like the one on the bus.

All I'm saying is give trash a chance

...to make it into a trashcan.

Posted by Jeremiah on June 7, 2007 at 3:35 PM

No comments: