No Recycling Centers
by Carol Dunn
We do not have cash-for-trash recycling centers in Huerfano County, which seems kind of sad in light of the “green” movement. But there is also an icky-sticky, germy side to this business.
Recycling center, or RC, was an impractical name for those places in California. The one we went to was better described as a junkyard with a big, grimy scale. It was the customer’s job, whether or not he or she had on heels and stockings, to sort the glass into one bin, the plastic into another, and the aluminum into a third, and all the bins were always filthy. So any self-respecting woman would sort the stuff by grasping each item with only two fingers, to minimize the sticky mess, which was guaranteed to glue your fingers to the steering wheel on the drive home.
One day as I waited in line at the RC behind a guy in a van with a bunch of new-looking copper pipe, I noticed this mangy white dog wandering around the parking lot – about 70 pounds with a really big head and really big jaws like a bear trap. He was sniffing vehicle tires. He was sniffing a lot of things. And I could tell he had a lot of germs.
After my bins were weighed, a smoky woman behind bullet-proof glass paid me. With two clean fingers I carried my cash and purse back to my car, flung open the door, tossed my purse in, and then . . . the JUNKYARD DOG JUMPED IN ON MY SEAT.
This dog had looked ugly enough at a distance, but up close IT WAS AWFUL. It had that giant head, and bloodshot eyes, and a chunk taken out of one ear – and yes, lots of germs. The afternoon was over 100 degrees, so the creature was panting and SLOBBERING all over my seats and the library books and the console and my purse and EVERYTHING. So, in my most authoritative voice I commanded, “Get out.” It gave me a look that said “you must be joking.” So I commanded again, pointing out the window, which was really dumb once I thought about it.
Fortunately, a grimy but kindly old man offered to help. The dog had moved to the back seat, slobber dripping from his jowls and soaking into the upholstery. My skin was crawling. The old man looked at the dog and said, “Get out.” When that didn’t work, he got a bungee cord and looped it around the dog’s neck and pulled it out the back door. I was so relieved, I turned to thank the man, and as I did, the dog slipped the bungee cord and jumped back in the driver’s door, which was still open. No, I hadn’t thought to close it at the time, thanks for asking.
The old man just looked at me. I closed the door, and the dog moved into the back seat and lay down, dripping, panting, dripping, probably figuring he was going for a ride. The man again looped the bungee around the dog’s neck and, with a little more struggle this time, eased the dog out. I slammed the back door. FINALLY! The dog stood there for a few seconds then loped around the car looking for an open door. I catapulted into the front seat, settling onto the wet slobber and sped off.
And that’s my experience with recycling centers.