A. the rest of you would never come visit me anyway,
B. I would be living somewhere else by the time you did come to visit,
C. this "look" may one day be cool, like living in converted warehouses or shipping containers.
There it is, baby. The Dream of Living in France; that "high standard of living" you read about in all the highbrow magazines. Oh yes, it's all "la vie en rose" in my quartier. There's much to focus on here but I will address only the garbage cans today as I just don't have the strength to talk about anything else.
It's not that I didn't think about writing about this sooner, it's just that I had so many other pleasant things to talk about. But the trash situation here had gotten to the point of being unbearable UNTIL I took control and appointed myself Trash Czar.
Obviously, it's unfortunate that the garbage cans have to be directly inside the front door. Alas, the other residents must feel that there is no other place for them to be. The glass door you see at the end of the hallway goes out into a courtyard and just to the right of that doorway is a covered alcove where things like garbage cans would fit nicely.
I cannot believe the garbage cans were always inside the front door. They must have been back in the alcove at some point and then for some ludicrous reason an insane person moved them to the Welcome Mat position and there they have been ever since. No one is bothered by this but me, therefore I realized it's my problem. To cope I have adopted an outlook not unlike that of Genghis Khan - Follow the Trash Czar rules or suffer the consequences.
As it is, the garbage cans must stay where they are. So then everyone in the building needs to adopt my standards and when it comes to executing the proper waste management procedures they must all, as the kids say, have it on lock. But in French, so more like, "je suis un cent pour cent sûr, mon sauce." Whatever.
As I see it the problem with the current system is threefold:
1. There are only two garbage cans for garbage, one of which is inexplicably half the size of the other one, so effectively there are 1.5 garbage cans for a 15 unit apartment building.
2. There is one can for recyclables and almost no one knows what recyclables are even though there is an each-one-teach-one guide with pictures affixed to the lid of the trash can as well as another one stuck on the wall above the trash cans.
3. I highly doubt I have to say this but there is no on-duty housekeeping person so the tenants are responsible for rolling the cans out on the right days and rolling them back in the next day. And it's by shedding light upon point #3 that we've hit upon the crux of the problem, which is: When something is "everyone's" job, no one does it.
After months of overstuffed trash cans spilling garbage out on the entryway floor and morons leaving microwave ovens and such ON TOP of the recycle can or overstuffing it so that we are awash in plastic water bottles upon entering the lobby, I knew I had to be "everyone".
There was already a system in place which predates the Trash Czar and it is really quite easy if everyone follows the simple rules that are posted just above the garbage cans. But I can safely say that people who have no problem with trash all over their lobby do not pay attention to smeared and faded handwritten signs taped to the wall. Class and professionalism all the way.
I was feeling particularly Czar-ish one day and printed out this graphic from the City's website of what items are not picked up and must be taken to the dump. I taped it to the aforementioned microwave. See how I thoughtfully circled the category that microwaves fit into? I'm like that.
I now maniacally survey the garbage cans every time I pass them which, with having to take the dogs for walks on top of my other daily comings and goings, is about 12 times a day. I used to think that it must be terrible for garbage collectors to have to handle trash all day. Now, it's like nothing to me. I will not hesitate to scrounge around in the cans, separating recyclables from regular trash to make room in them so they don't get overfilled. I dive right in and believe you me when the Cotons and I go out on that last night time walk those cans are spick and span with nary a shred of paper peeping out from the lids. I set them out nearly every night and this alone has solved most of the problem. And, miraculously, others have noticed and have started doing this as well from time to time.
The recyclable can though only gets picked up once a week. Some people are unconcerned about the cleanliness of the lobby and love to overfill the recyclable so that the lid doesn't close. I assume they think saving those recyclables in their flat until the can is empty would be too much of an eyesore for them. Funny and ironic. Very droll.
I daresay that my Czar-like practices may have started to take root. Someone else seemingly now cares as I found out a couple of weeks ago when some wretch propped half of a shelving unit against the trash cans. The next morning it had a note taped to it effectively saying "you need to take this to the dump and not leave it up to your neighbors to sort your trash for you". A possible Co-Czar in the making?? There's hope!