When we hear the term "trash talking" it usually refers to one athlete lording it over another athlete for doing something he is expected to do, like scoring a touchdown or making a basket. The trash talker is an idiot.
There is considerable trash talking these days among the ranks of the Chula Vista Police Department, and possibly other departments within the city. There may be idiots involved, but they are not the police. The talking has nothing to do with athletics or accomplishments, but with trash cans within the offices.
A few weeks ago a memo circulated informing the troops they would be receiving new trash cans. The memo said the usual waste baskets under the desks would be replaced with sit-on-top-of-the-desk trash cans. The officers and support personnel shook their collective heads in wonderment.
The trash cans were delivered in mid-January amid much amazement, laughter, and downright disgust. Here’s how it works: The new trash cans stand approximately six inches tall and have a diameter of about five inches. If you were to pour liquid in it, you might get a quart, or if you took it to a 7-11, it could hold a “Big Gulp” or an “Oscar the Grouch” hand puppet from Sesame Street fame.
Exclamations of “What the hell is this?” were heard all over the detective bureau, along with, “What are we supposed to do with these things?”
Fortunately, directions came with the new improved trash cans. You are supposed to put regular waste in the new trash cans. If you get recyclable items you are supposed to put them in a special basket under your desk.
Once your on-top desk waste basket is full (anything you put in it will fill it up), you are supposed to walk to one of the trash containers located on the floor. The detectives, none of whom would consent to the use of their names, wondered how much time would be spent walking to the various trash containers. Their reactions varied from the humorous to the unprintable. The wear and tear on the carpets will be considerable.
One officer said his trash basket held a Subway sandwich wrapper, a paper cup, and an empty chip bag. That was all. He had to walk to dispose of the stuff.
The bad part is the real wastebaskets were removed from under each desk. One officer proudly showed me a wastebasket he had appropriated from someplace. I warned him that swift, harsh discipline would probably be coming his way soon.
The simple solution would be to have two regular-sized wastebaskets under the desk, one for recyclables, and one for trash. No, that would be too simple. The troops wondered who the genius was who came up with this idea. They wanted someone who was “bulletproof” and couldn’t face professional retaliation for questioning such a stupid decision—namely me—to find out who came up with the idea.
So, I phoned the office of Environmental Services. I left my name, number, and the purpose of my call (to learn the rationale behind the new waste baskets and the genius who came up with it). I didn’t hear back from anybody before it was time to file this column. I’ll keep you posted.