Sunday, February 17, 2013

Park Maintenance

Thankfully maintenance is not my job.  I have no interest in the upkeep of baseball fields, performing repairs, checking sprinkler systems, and the like.  Especially in the cold winters or hot summers.  I wouldn't mind mowing the grass on the soccer fields, IF it involved a riding lawn mower with a roof.

However, on the days I park sit, I am responsible for the trash cans.  I learned that certain parks, during football season, managed to collect tons of trash.  Ten huge trash barrels surround the field.  During the course of the day, each barrel fills with trash.  These barrels are as high as my waist and when full of trash, are quite heavy.  My job is to empty the barrels.  Somehow, I am required to maneuver  holding a trash bag over the barrel, pick the barrel up, hold it upside down and shake it until all the trash falls from the barrel and into the bag.

I am not strong or coordinated enough to do this successfully.  Most of the time, I manage to dump half of the trash onto the ground thanks to the bag slipping off the rim of the barrel while I was holding it upside down.  When this happens, I mumble a "gosh dang-it" and I stoop down to pick up the trash and throw it into the bag.  There are people all around, watching football games.  I'm sure that they find me much more entertaining than the game.  I'm waiting for them to bring their folding chairs over, sit in a semi-circle around the trash barrel and sip from their cans of soda while watching me as I attempt to be a good park sitter and empty the trash cans.  I am the new spectator sport. 

I developed a deep dislike of coffee one fall day.  A competition of cheerleaders was scheduled to begin at nine.  This meant that by 8:30, the parking lot was full and the park was populated by little girls in cheerleader costumes with their shivering moms in coats, clutching cups of gas-station coffee and cursing themselves for signing their daughters up for cheerleading in the first place.

By the end of the competition, at lunch-time, the day had warmed up to a pleasant temperature.  Coats had been shed, cheers had been cheered and trophies handed out.  They went home.  Football games would be starting soon, so I decided it would be a good time to collect the trash.

The trash barrels were filled with the coffee cups that had previously been the cold cheerleader mom's life line.  I'll never understand why they paid for a large coffee, only to drink half of it and throw the rest away.  By the time I had dumped the first trash barrel into the garbage bag and ground, I was covered in coffee.  The trash bags, which had no holes in them, were dripping cold coffee.  It just seeped through the plastic of the bags.  I put the trash bags into the bed of the park's golf car-like maintenance truck and drove them to the far side of the parking lot to the dumpsters.  I proceeded to toss the bags into the dumpsters, successfully managing to get even more coffee on me.  The truck bed had pools of tan-colored coffee in it. I left that mess for the park's maintenance people.  They can wash it out later.

I'm looking forward to summer, when the coffee cups will be replaced with sodas and the trash barrels will be swarming with bees.  Good times are yet to come.

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