Saving the World. Killing Animals.

I watch the baristas (if they’re male is it baristos?) at King’s Road scoop their potently dark coffee beans from giant gray trashcans into petite brown paper bags. That’s gross, I think. The fact that these receptacles have most certainly never been used as proper waste baskets for old food leaves my irrationality undeterred. I will forever associate a trash can with the smell of curdled chocolate milk and sour ham sandwiches. I’d like to not see my precious coffee being stored in such a container of ill repute.
You see, Senior year of high school I become quite familiar with these bins. A recycling club was formed by students and spearheaded by Dr. Foffanoff – a man whose name appropriately and with almost onomatopoeia-like accuracy described his demeanor, gait, and hand movements. His ambiguous sexual orientation was due less to actual ambiguity but rather the strict Catholic school that he had sadistically chosen to exist within. And of all things he was a religion teacher. You could almost see the self-flagellation wounds bleeding through the back of his button up shirt.
We were attempting to save the planet, to see further than beyond our upper-middle class and sometimes plastic surgeon adjusted noses. At the end of the semester we were to donate all of the proceeds of our recycling dollars to a charity of choice. I think it had something to do with homeless kids or hungry kids or kids without books. Whatever. The effort entailed topping the aforementioned cans with state-of-the-art lids, replete with a four inch circular holes, thus separating them from the “I don’t give a shit about the planet” cans. The idea was that if teenagers saw the shape of the hole, they would place things of the appropriate size…something akin to that blocks game everyone played when they were babies. X’s went in the X holes, Os went in the O holes, and if you got tired of banging them around to see what went where you could opt to just chew on the pieces.
As rudimentary as this plan sounded, it was almost impossible to illicit cooperation from my lazy and ignorant peers. Every lunch a few of us would stand up on chairs and make a reminding announcement over inane chatter about who hates who and who blew who. But our red-faced requests to “PLEASE REMEMBER TO RECYCLE!” were always drowned out by “Chad did WHAT to WHO?!”
Twice a week after school our group of tree-hugging blessed souls would snap on some thin latex gloves and dig through our treasure bins, separating the wheat from the chaff if you know what I mean. The four inch opening never appeared to indicate it’s intention. People preferred to interpret the specialized lids for little trash for little trash collectors to take to little trash dumps. Like Lilliput for garbage. Wads of chewed gum, half-eaten BBQ chicken pizza, open containers of ranch dressing, banana peels, etc. Fifty percent of the bins would be filled with toxic rotting shit and the other half full of germ ridden sticky cans not worth the five cents we were trading them in for. It was a thankless job.
One day, doing more of the same, we heard a panic within the ranks.
Being the good rubbernecking, eavesdropping seventeen-year-olds that we were, everyone ran to the direction of the squealing. By the front door of the cafeteria and up the stairs from my World History class, a blue trash can lay on its side, cans and garbage spilling out from it like a cornucopia. A girl stood above with her arm held against her nose. Closing in, we all did the same. Amongst the Tang, Pepsi, and Diet Dr. Pepper was a dead squirrel, stiff, having drowned in a mound of filth and good intentions.
The most ineffective recycling program in the history of West Hills ended soon after the slaughter. We earned about $51 from all of our manual labor and lunch hour PR efforts – a sum I would have gladly donated from a week of blending Mahalo Mangos at my juice bar gig. Anything if it would have saved that poor animal. Recycling kills. Trashcans are dirty. The end.

(What our squirrel might have looked like had he/she been able to pursue a long, happy life)


One thought on “Saving the World. Killing Animals.

  1. Lvican says:

    I think that all espresso serving types are just called baristas, and all of the coffee roasters I know use food grade plastic bins. I mean, those are what we use at the coffee roaster that I work for.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s