Five days a week, one in the morning, he is awoken by the blaring sound of “zzzzzzz” an old alarm clock struggling to find the right zone on the radio, the rest of the house is silent, still sleeping, and dead as a doornail. He rolls out of bed, hurries into the shower, and drawers move open and close as he struggles to get fully ready for work. His 250 pounds thump the carpet, as his keys whisper goodbye as he passes my room, leading himself to the first 7 stairs descending, his pace quiets to a silent as he comes across the landing, then he quickens to a thud only to hit 7 more stairs and he finds the linoleum floor with a final stomp. The garage door opens and gently vibrates the floor, his engine revs up, bright lights shine into the house across the walls, the rays getting smaller and smaller as his Hemi backs down the driveway. After 50 minutes driving in pure darkness, eyes peeled on the lookout for critters and deer scrambling around so early, just before the Palace of Auburn Hills, he takes right onto Highwood Rd, to Allied Waste Services. Punches in at 3 o’ clock in the morning sharp, switches into his fluorescent, eye-catching, yellow shirt, grabs the keys to his front loader, accelerates to the driving stage, pulls out his route sheets, and drives 45 minutes down to the cities of Warren, and Mt. Clemens, and Sterling Heights, hitting all the businesses in between, he opens the wooden gate, and lowers his upper forks into the insert holes on the sides of each of the dumpsters, the trash tips upside-down, and crashes into the upper level of his truck, close to 200 cans dumped behind each restaurant, store, and business appears in black-and-white upon his route sheet, it all continues for 14 hrs straight. The load ends at close to 3, 4, or 5 o’ clock in the afternoon, you just can never tell, all the way back into Pontiac for the fifth time in a day to dump his third load at the landfill, the seagulls flock his truck, and circle swiftly into the air sensing prey, stranded stray puppies eat off floating garbage, he just continues to follow up with his day, he heads back to Allied, walks through the glass doors, and punches out, it’s 3:30, he walks back out the doors, steps back up into his Dodge Hemi and fills out his paperwork, turning it back into his supervisor. It’s close to hitting 4 o’ clock in the afternoon and the horrible, indescribable, nauseating, repugnant stench of mixing smells from the landfill ahead, embroiders the threads lining his flourescent yellow work shirt. Time passes so slowly, cruising down the expressway, caught up in mid-day traffic. Close to an hour after 4, he steps into the door, of course the atrocious, repulsive smell carries through the house, and he makes his way to the shower as quick as he can. His strength is almost severed by the end of the day, after all he sits in a crunched up, garbage truck, in routine to reach success in one thing all day; dumping all of his required cans. Sleep soothes it, but only long enough for him to get right back up at one o’ clock in the morning and head out the door again. He surely doesn’t stop there, it takes a full week of constant work of doing something every minute and make every day of worth, for him to feel completion. He runs a t-shirt business on the weekends as a street vendor along with Detroit pictures. It takes Monday through Sunday working from dawn to dark to live his own life complete; this is his never-ending, never-stopping, never giving up cycle of life, it repeats every split second, every minute, every hour, everyday it’s the life of a “garbage man”, a front loader, an all- American hustler. It’s the life of my father, my dad, my daddy, and always and forever will be.
Who need sleep, you have a life to live!
April 5, 2011