I hear that San Bernardino's waste management workers and their bosses have been arguing over job productivity, and my first reaction is to stay out of it.
When people are talking garbage, I don't like to get in the middle.
But I can't help wondering, how are garbage truck operators supposed to increase their productivity, exactly?
I'm not sure this is a good idea.
Truck races at the stadium on Saturday nights are OK, I guess, but garbage truck races on city streets in the middle of the day?
Sounds dangerous. Sounds messy.
Do the bosses feel that the waste management workers should be picking up more garbage? Is that how workers could show increased productivity?
Again, I am worried about where this could lead.
I don't want garbage truck operators knocking on my door at 7 a.m. to see if I have any more garbage for them beyond what I've already put in the carts and taken out to the curb.
I'm sorry, but I have no more to give. Not until next week, anyway.
I suppose they could go around the house and empty the wastebaskets and garbage cans one more time, but I just did that the night before, so they're not going to find much.
If they start rooting around in closets and drawers and stuff, looking for extra garbage, I will object.
I know they are professionals, and theoretically they know more than I do about what is, and what is not, garbage.
But I've been saving that moth-eaten high school senior sweater for 40 years now, and I don't care if it looks like garbage or not, I am not parting with it, no matter what the professionals say.
What if San Bernardino's waste management workers start making raids in neighboring cities, just to collect more garbage?
Sure, it might make them look good. Like they're doing more work.
But it will make the waste management workers in Colton, and Rialto, and Highland, and Loma Linda, look like they are doing less.
They might retaliate, and start conducting garbage raids in San Bernardino. Pretty soon things will escalate out of control, with garbage trucks from various cities racing around at high speeds, at all hours of the day and night, trying to collect more garbage than the next guy.
I have a lot of respect for waste management workers. I knew one personally a long time ago, and that was when they were called garbage collectors. They had to get up close and personal with garbage, much more so than today.
There were two or three workers on every truck, and they took turns driving. The ones who weren't driving had to step off the truck at every home, grab each can or barrel or bag and physically manhandle the trash into the truck.
When some people say their job stinks, we know they are exaggerating. When my friend said it, he had a point.
Today's waste management workers don't manually grapple with trash the way they used to do. The process is more automated these days.
Still, it's hard work. Demanding work.
And do you know who can help more than anyone else, as far as increasing the job productivity of waste management workers?
That's right, you and me.
We can sort our trash properly and place it in the appropriate carts.
We can place carts correctly for pickup, at least 18 inches apart, wheels to curb.
We can make sure that carts are at least three feet from obstructions such as parked cars, mailboxes, fences, posts or trees.
We can avoid overloading or overpacking carts.
For more information on what we can do to help our friends in waste management, we can visit our city Web site and follow the links to public services or public works, then to waste management or trash pickup.
In San Bernardino, the Web address is www.ci.san-bernardino.ca.us. Click on Departments, then Public Services.