Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gas, trash and cash: No one rides for free - not even on a field trip

I drove on a field trip today. I usually drive, for a variety of reasons:

I am a control freak, for one.
I like to have things to do.
I like to be useful.
I like to make sure my kids aren't behaving like total assholes in public.

I also have discovred something startling over the past year or so. People drive without a valid driver's license, or registration, or insurance. People drive OTHER PEOPLE'S CHILDREN without a valid license, or registration, or insurance. People also have a very "to each his own" attitude about things like seatbelts and booster seats.


Listen, I'm not uptight. I'm not. I think you know this about me.
But I can promise you this: I am the straightest of straight arrows when it comes to transporting other people's children.

And the parents all look so relieved as they drop off their kids and rush back to their quiet houses, or drive off with the surfboards hanging out of the back of the car.

Gosh. I wonder why they look so relieved. About 3 minutes into the drive, I start to understand. Someone has just learned the punchline "that's what she said." and dropped that line after every single sentence. By the time we got to our destination, one of the kids was just begging for the chance to use it:
"Just say anything, anything at all."

"Your breath stinks."



So as I was saying, I drive. I drive because I want to. I drive because my personality requires it. And in situations like today, I also drive because it is damn near impossible to find parents willing to drive on a field trip to the dump. I mean landfill. The Landfill. DO NOT CALL IT THE DUMP because the lady at the dump landfill will look at you sadly, with her pity for your ignorance barely veiled, as she explains that it's not a dump, it's a landfill.

Wait. I am starting to understand why everyone looked so relieved this morning. Fuck. No wonder no one volunteered to drive. I am spending my morning at the DUMP LANDFILL.

Well, at least we have a lovely tour guide, filled with all sorts of knowledge about solid waste. She seems thrilled to have us come visit. I can tell that she loves leading groups of obnoxious middle-school students, especially when she immediately hustles us into a conference room to explain that if the children make one false move, put even one toe on the berm, everyone will have to get back in their cars and leave the dump.

Now, she won't explain what a berm is, so the kids just hope to god they don't touch it by accident. She also won't ever explain the difference is between a dump and a landfill. You will have to figure that out on your own. She will speak of methane gas but seem stumped when asked what it is or how it is generated. She will regale you with tales of the garbage "juices" but doesn't really explain what they do with them. She won't know any shocking statistics like how much trash a single person can generate in a day (4-5 pounds on average) because "she deals with the trash, not the facts and figures". She's not sure what happens to the compost they produce with the greenwaste - although she does know that the greenwaste is combined with solid waste (translation: POOP!) and heated up - it's very scientific, don't you know (I hope you do, because she's a little fuzzy on the details).

Mostly she just seems relieved that we are leaving.

But I can assure you - I was more relieved than she was.

And the next time I drive on a field trip, I am totally making the other parents pay me to take one for the team. I accept cash, cabernet, or Starbucks gift cards.

1 comment:

Del said...

I really enjoyed reading your blog today. Thank you for taking the time to post it.