I write this last Friday, while AT&T was repairing damage to its cable where the sewer replacement team tunneled through, knocking whole neighborhoods off line and leaving us with no land-line service. It’s all back to normal. Whatever “normal” is.
Thanks to my Paul Bunyan routine this week, there are two huge brush piles accumulated in the alley, one behind my house and the other behind my neighbor’s. Friday is pick-up day ‘round these-here parts, but on Thursday afternoon a truck appears and a crew gets started. This has happens now and then. Victims of Florida schools, maybe they have trouble reading calendars.
After they leave I go outside to sweep up the crap they inevitably leave strewn in the alley: out there barefoot often, I’ve learned the hard way that invisible thorns (not to mention branches, stones, and shards of glass) gravitate to my heels and soles like iron filings to a magnet. Dog shit, too, but that’s another tale.
That’s when I observe that once again, the crew has decimated my cyclone fence. A huge dent in the upper rail and a broken limb off the cocoplum indicate that the “clam shell” device they use came down hard on the fence, yanking its joint from the post, leaving it pointed outward rather menacingly, Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here style.
Shit, this again. And double shit — my phone and internet are both down, so I can’t go on-line and find the right number to call. So I call 411 on my cell phone and get a number for the City of Hollywood, which of course is the wrong department, but the good witch sends me to Environmental Something or Other, who takes my info but says they don’t have pick-ups any more: it’s all outsourced to Waste Pro, who I should call directly That’s who owns the contract to remove all waste, recyclables, brush piles, and other detritus.
So how come they haven’t collected the school board?
I stay on the line as the phone at Waste Pro rings 24 times — this ain’t my first rodeo with these peckerwoods; I know their MO — before anybody picks up. Politely, she takes my info and says she’ll have the on-street supervisor get back to me. And he does! But it seems he’s got a problem with this.
“We don’t pick up in your area on Thursdays,” he says. “That crew is over the south side of Johnson. Your day is tomorrow.”
So what’re you saying? Somebody poached these brush piles? Who would steal dead leaves and branches? Rogue beavers? Can they drive trucks, now?
“I dunno. I live in Hollywood, too, and I see strange stuff all the time. Maybe it’s the city. But I just talked to the other supervisor, and it wasn’t us.”
I already talked to the city. They told me they don’t pick up any more — that’s why they hired you. You’re telling me that just because my area isn’t scheduled, nobody was here. This ain’t the first time they’ve been her a day early. I figure they’re out there, have a few hours left, and want to get a jump on Friday so they can knock off early. Hell, that’s what I would do. But for whatever reason, they were definitely here today.
This gets me a loud guffaw and an assurance that these guys work ‘way too hard on all the unbeLIEVable quantities of material they have to remove EVery minute of the day; that he guaranTEES there’s no way they did that EVer, that and besides, Hollywood DOES still run trucks, and that every truck Waste Pro operates has a windshield camera to document their movements.
“I don’t wanna give you no runaround,” he concludes, “but it wasn’t us who picked up your pile, so it wasn’t us who damaged your fence.”
Oh what thick reeking bullshit. What, we got rogue garbage men now? Aliens? Brush pile bandits? I saw this truck with my own fucking eyes. I call the city again.
“No, we don’t pick up — that’s why we hired them,” says Felicia (she volunteers her name. Must be new). Here’s what you do. First, take pictures of the damage. Then call the police and get an officer to come out and give you an Incident Report. Email the report, or at least the number, and the picture to Waste Pro, and cc this office.” She provides me emails for both.
Man do I not want to call the cops. I never want to call cops. It always ends badly. Guido says it’s my attitude. I say it’s because cops are mostly assholes who don’t fucking listen. We’re probably both right.
I call the Waste Pro supervisor back and tell him what the city tells me. “Do what you gotta do,” he says. “But I just talked to the other super out here, and he says the same thing — no way any of our trucks was in your area today. Your day’s Friday. They’ll be there tomorrow.”
I grab my phone and do my best Random Pixels impression. Lo and behold: as I’m out there making beautiful postcard artwork out of my trashed cyclone fence, another Waste Pro truck appears and starts down the alley. I intercept it, and ask the driver what he’s doing here.
“Pickin’ up,” he says. “Sometimes if we get a few hours left we’ll start the next day’s route. We’re the clean-up, come in behind the unit that takes the big stuff with the clam shell. They were here earlier.”
I thank him, get the number of the truck and a photo, and, with the truck roaring down the alley in the background, call Waste Pro Super a third time to deliver a message of shouted rebuttal spiced with personal abuse which, sadly, I had to leave on his VM. Then, cheered up a bit, I call the police. No, it doesn’t go real well, but it doesn’t become an episode in Dial-An-Arrest either. She says if a cop fails to appear in 15 minutes, call back.
And the next thing I know, Waste Pro Super is in my alley, glumly staring at the remains of a brush pile and a broken fence. I identify myself, and nicely inquire as to how a guy who can’t fucking tell his own be-shitted ass from a pile of dead branches gets to handle problems for a large corporation like Waste Pro, even drive his own little truck and everything.
“Hey, I don’t need your profanity, okay?” he says. “I’m here, ain’t I? And I got my boss comin’ round, too.”
Yeah, let’s party. Meanwhile, exactly what you guaran-fucking-teed me about your own crews coming ‘round a day earlier never happens in fact happens all the fucking time. So either I know more about your business and crews than you do, or you’re just jackin my chain with a line of bullshit just like you told me the city does. You don’t fuckin bother to actually CALL the pick-up guys, you just check their schedule and hand me a load of balls about how hard they work all day all night. Nice job, shitheel. Don’t treat ME like a moron– I ain’t your family.
I could go on like this for a while longer, but then the super Super shows up, eyes up the damage, and says he’ll have somebody out here tomorrow to fix it. Which, aside from the great sport of verbally abusing assholes who earn salaries making this world a living hell for those of us just trying to get by, is really the point of this exercise.
And then the guy who actually did the damage shows up. He apologizes — says he never even saw the problem or he’d have taken care of it on the spot. He also told us he works three areas every day, something either Shitheel isn’t aware of or just lied about — and he’d be back tomorrow to fix it. “Yeah, I do that, too,” he says. “Doesn’t happen a lot, but now and then it does.”
Is it 5:00 yet? No, but it’s more than 15 minutes and the cop hasn’t materialized. I call back and ask them to tear up the request. No problem — they’re delighted to do less work.
And on Friday the parade starts — AT&T, AT&T U-Verse, and then Waste Pro. By noon the fence is repaired. The phone and internet will take a while longer, because it seems the crack (smoking?) crew doing the sewer repair in eastern Hollywood drilled through a major connection point on Thursday and took out the whole neighborhood. They’re on it today.
Oh, look. Fire Rescue across the street carrying out one of my neighbors. More parking space on the street!
Happy First Day of Summer.