It is my belief the moment you become attuned to the sickly sweet smell of warm trash stewing under a hot sun, you may, with confidence, consider oneself a graduate from ‘novince waste auditor’ to ’employee officially desensitized to the horrors of the waste industry.
I, to my overwhelming lack of surprise, was about to be proved wrong, yet again. It turns out, eventually, in the waste business, particularly the branch in which you’re ankle deep in diapers, used hygiene pads, excessively large sex toys, and a layer of what can only be described as ‘a vaguely intoxicating mix of rainwater, mashed restaurant potato skins, and warm milk, the sloshed mix of which is so cosmically horrific, H.P. Lovecraft himself would seriously consider its inclusion in the Chthulu Mythos,’ you will inevitably face, time after time, many opportunities to be beaten down with the emotional and mental equivalent of getting clocked over the head with an old dish-drying rack full of a homeless man’s excrement.
Which, of course is exactly what happened.
Oh, yes, that fateful day, one long summer day in the loading dock of some generic mall, in a city just west of Mississauga. These Hamiltonians, I tell you, there be some real savages out here.
It was at the exact moment I bent down to inspect this bucket full of what I at first imagined to be melted chocolate ice cream, to which my olfactory senses immediately presented a strong argument I should reassess my original evaluation in the favour of ‘old hobo defecatory soup’, that I began to seriously doubt my mental acuity by signing a lease to live in London to continue this job for another 14 months.
I can only hope, at the end of it all, I will emerge a person metaphorically rebirthed in the fires of methane-producing garbage, alongside a healthy dose of mid-twenties-generated cynicism with a year of experience that will make it all worth it in the end.
But perhaps it is not all doom and gloom. Certainly, there are opportunities to present my worth. Sure, I push myself to mental limits that often invoke the ever-looming dread of existential anxiety, or as I like to call it, the Garbage Man question – why did I get a Masters so I could be a garbage man (might I add, sanitation workers get paid more than I do because UnIOniZatION), but these are opportunities nonetheless. For example, I’ve been tasked with delivering a waste workshop to a town in Northern Ontario. The time I’ve been given to prepare for this, you ask? A solo 2-hour presentation on the history of waste management, its pitfalls and an explanation what homeowners can do to reduce our contribution to environmental unsuststainability? Its equivalent to the height, financial income, charm and sex appeal requirements for Sammie on Tinder to go out with me so I can avoid getting catfished for the damn third time by a chunky 24-year old with an Asian fetish who claimed she also liked board games but oh look you don’t even know what Catan is, Lisa. That is to say, never enough, dear reader, never enough.
As I narrowly avoided sinking my nose into that stew of homeless poopy poo, much the same way your life flashes before your eyes after an encounter with death, I couldn’t help but recall stories of my fellow graduate kinsmen. Instagram stories, in fact. Stories of which the vast majority included all you jerks enjoying the pleasures of modern society, like working in an office, enjoying AC, days that don’t include traveling for 4 hours, work less frustrating than Pornhub with bad WiFi, the scent of flowers that haven’t been rotting in a dumpster for the past week, and perhaps most infuriating of all, the fact that all you f*ckers are probably sitting at a desk twiddling your thumbs playing Sudoku while I have to dodge hobo shit every week.
I could only conclude my near-poop experience with the utterance of a single word:
So yeah, this job is okay I guess. Solid 8/10.