Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rage Against the Machine

Update on the cable situation from last week:

The supervisor comes out on Friday and looks at the box outside and tells me we CAN get cable, but it's a weak signal so we can't get cable internet. I say I don't want cable internet now anyway. He says somebody will come out Saturday to install.

On Saturday two guys come in and plug the set-top boxes in and it sorta works, but channel 2 (CBS) doesn't work. The guy then tells me it's not working and they're gonna have to drill a hole through the wall in Judah's room and run a line of cable throughout the inside of the apartment (real pretty) so we can get a strong signal. I tell him we don't need channel 2 and we'll think about having the pretty inside wiring done later. He leaves, Lily and I are checking out the channels, and then he calls back about 10 minutes later saying he's gotta come back and take the box because his supervisor said he couldn't leave a cable box unless it's fully functioning. I tell him no and that I'm calling his supervisor. The supervisor tells me a bunch of crap about how it's a routing thing and they can't leave an install like that. I tell him we won't make a complaint and I ask him to let us keep it. Lily gets on the phone and sweet talks him into letting us have the cable as-is, and now we get channel 2 and everything works fine with the same wiring we had in the first place. Fucking A.

Okay, enough with the bitching about the cable, phone and internet companies. At least until next week anyway.

Shortly after we moved in, our apartment manager informed us that there's no recycling for the building. So we set out to get some recycling for the building. We called the number on the side of the neighbors' recycling bins. The people on the phone told us they were gonna find out how much it costs and call us back. We still haven't received a call.

After having unpacked about 2/3 of our boxes, we found ourselves swimming in a sea of crumpled newspaper (for the dishes), scraps of cardboard (from the flimsy boxes we used for clothing), and broken down boxes. This pile of paper products was taking over our apartment and wasn't allowing us any room to unpack more.

So we called the number on the side of our garbage dumpster, and they said it would cost 30 bucks a month to get recycling. Until we get on the phone and ask our landlord to foot the bill to save a tree or three, we decided to throw our mountain of paper into our neighbors recycling bins. The apartment manager assured us that the neighbors like that sort of thing, because it's good to see people recycling. Yeah. Our neighbors across the street have a house that belongs in Architectural Digest. I'm sure they want random people throwing their crap/recycling into their bins.

After missing last Tuesday morning's recycling collection, I informed Lily that this Monday night was the night for stealth guerilla recycling mode. I grabbed 6 paper grocery bags filled with crumpled SF Weeklies and Guardians (for the dishes) and headed down the steps onto Grand Boulevard. Luckily at that time of night, there isn't much traffic so I had no problem walking across the street and finding some space to cram the bags in.

I came back home to get another load of bags. Then another load of cardboard. I put our stuff in about 8 different bins that all had just enough space to include our recycling. I couldn't help but feel like I was doing something wrong by using the neighbors recycling bins, but Lily convinced me that we're trying to do the right thing. That kept me going for the last big haul: A clear plastic bag about the size of Santa's Xmas gift bag, but full of crumpled newspaper instead of toys. Ho ho ho.

On the way back from my fourth trip, I found a large blue bin that was nearly empty. I slung the huge plastic bag full of crumpled newspaper over my shoulder and headed for the empty bin. I walked down the sidewalk feeling pretty good about being done with this stealth guerilla recycling mission until I saw a Volvo station wagon heading down the street pull a u-turn and come back toward me. The criminal feeling came back and I propped the bag against a nearby bush. I walked away from it and stood on the curb, tapping my foot like I was waiting for somebody.

A woman got out of the car with her dog. They were right across the street from the empty bin. I acted like I knew nothing about the bag and waited. The dog sniffed around the sidewalk and grass, then peed. I was ready to bust them if the dog pooped. But they jogged across the street and out of sight into the darkness. I quickly made my way to the blue bin and crammed the papers in. Man, if it's gonna take that kind of covert action every week to recycle, I'm gonna pay the 30 bucks myself.

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