Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Hidden Joy of Alleys

Alleys have a horrible reputation. When I think of an alley I conjure up the image of poor Bruce Wayne watching his parents get killed. If I keep thinking about them I recall all the times I have spent wandering down the alleys of Chicago drinking out of a paper bag. Lastly I will think about El Scrapito diving into dumpsters and throwing every thing of any value into the back of a pick up truck that is made up of 8 different trucks welded together. Never had it crossed my mind that alleys were ultimately the salvation of my beloved Chicago.

Now that I am living in the shadow of New York I understand the true value of alleys; alleys provide a place to store garbage while waiting for pick up. You see, here on the east coast they do something which I find absolutely repulsive, they just stack the garbage on the sidewalk. This is why the entire city smells like shit, especially at night. Since there is no where else to put it every business just throws bags of crap on the sidewalk that sits there reeking until it gets picked up. Do you think every bag stays closed? OF COURSE THEY DON'T. All sorts of refuse leaks out of the bags and stays on the sidewalk until God knows when.

Even worse than the stink and the leaks is the obstacle they provide. The other night I was walking back to the train and I had to cross over the to the other side of the street because there was an actual dam of garbage blocking my way. This is not hyperbole or exaggeration. The entire sidewalk was blocked by a chest high pile of trash. I would have needed to pole vault over it in order to proceed but I forgot to bring my pole that day.

I don't know how people have learned to tolerate this nonsense. It is repulsive. Unfortunately I think the only real solution to the problem would be to do what we did in Chicago; burn the city down and start over. Even a supreme jerk like myself isn't going to suggest doing this. Therefore I have been left to brainstorm a better system. Here is what I have come up with so far:

  • Burn the garbage. Yeah, this isn't a real solution but I like burning things.
  • Have a very small window in which the garbage can be put out so it will only sit out for an hour or so. Since the majority of garbage pickup seems to be in the middle of the night this is impractical.
  • Build some sort of underground dumpster that opens up at the end of blocks. Everyone drops their garbage in it and then the garbage men come by and get it later. Sure, this is probably really expensive but it seems worth it to me.
  • Giant garbage catapults on top of buildings capable of launching all trash to the nearest landfill. It would work.
  • Dump all the garbage in the river of slime that runs under the city as seen in the documentary Ghostbusters II.
OK, so other than #3 none of those are real solutions, and that one would probably be really frickin' expensive.I just think something has to be done to eliminate the stink and annoyance of all the garbage sitting on the sidewalks. Until then I'll just wish I was nose deaf as I wander around my new home at night. I certainly never thought I would be homesick for alleys.

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