You realize, of course, that Mother Nature has it in for Ipswich. I’ve written about this before, in my book Ipswich Unzipped, so I’m sure you already knew. She sits in an ancient La-Z-Boy on her celestial screen porch, drinking gin, smoking Winstons, and conversing in her raspy voice with her Corona-drinking, undershirt-garbed husband, St. Peter. You knew they’re married, right? Sure you did, because you’ve read the book.
They hate Ipswich — because of the noise. There’s an almost constant array of road noises coming up to their place from below (mostly caused by speeders ignoring our town-wide default limit of 25 mph). So she sends snow, ice, sleet, hail, fog.
And in the springtime, wind.
I’m certain that Mother Nature chooses Thursdays for high winds in my neighborhood, on outer Linebrook, because it’s garbage pickup day. Last week, for example, after the garbage guys came and went, I was reminded of her wrath as I was chasing my empty 32-gallon Rubbermaid down the street. And let’s face it, there is no fighting Mother Nature. All you can do is figure out ways to accommodate her.
So I’m pondering my options.
One idea would be to sink a concrete block into the ground by the side of the road, at the edge of my property, with a big strong metal eyehook sticking up out of it; then somehow attach a long, springy cable to the bottom of the garbage can, and attach it to the eyehook. The garbage guys could pick up the garbage can as usual, dump the contents into the back of their truck as usual, and toss away the empty bin as usual. Then, when Mother Nature sends her gale force winds, my garbage can won’t roll to Rowley. It will only be able to go the length of the cable. It may plaster a passing Plymouth, but at least I’ll be able to retrieve it without mounting a new Lewis & Clark expedition.
Another idea would be to mount a magnetic square by the side of the road, and mount a metal plate on the bottom of my garbage can. The garbage guys would have to snap the can off the magnet, and I would have to hope they put it back when they’ve emptied it. Or maybe it could be an electromagnet, controlled by a switch inside my house — so when the garbage guys toss the can away, I flip the switch and zwoop!The can returns to its base. Just hope there’s no innocent rodent in its path at that moment. It would be sad to add to Ipswich’s already-prodigious smushed-squirrel count.
I’d build a little shed out there to put the garbage can in, but would the garbage guys open the door, empty the can, and put it back? They’re busy, they’re in a hurry, they can’t be expected to follow a lot of complicated rules. Possibly if the little shed was big enough to include a small snack bar, they’d have incentive to bring the empty can back. It could be a deposit system, like for empty glass milk bottles at the farm store at Appleton. In this case, it could be something like: Turn in the empty garbage can, get a fried whole-belly clam plate. Or a double scotch.
We could re-design the garbage can. Instead of being circular, it could be an aerodynamic teardrop shape, so instead of catching a gust and blowing away, it automatically changes position based on wind direction. Of course, for this to work, it would have be standing upright. If the garbage guys toss it, this is not likely. So in addition to the new aerodynamic shape, it would need a weighted base, like those “Weebles that wobble but they don’t fall down.” All this engineering design will obviously cost money, which would require a Kickstarter campaign, or an Institution for Savings grant. But it could be worth it, to avoid the foolish feeling I get sprinting down Linebrook Road in pursuit of my garbage can.
At the very least, I could embed a microchip in my garbage can, so I can track it with GPS when Mother Nature sends it swirling into the netherworld. A “Where’s My Can?” app couldn’t be all that difficult to create, could it? I know, this isn’t as good as hanging onto the darn trash can in the first place, but it could cut down on my Rubbermaid replacement budget, which is a significant.
Please feel free to pursue any of these ideas. And if you come up with other ideas of your own, please clue me in, by emailing Garbage@DougBrendel.com. Whatever you do, however, don’t rely on the old-fashioned method of sending your kid out to fetch your empty can before it blows away. I thought I could get away with this, and lost two teenagers. Who knows where they landed? Yes, it’s cheaper with two less teenagers, but the guilt is considerable.
Doug Brendel lives on the windswept plains of outer Linebrook Road. Follow him from the relative safety of your own home, by clicking Follow on this screen.