Saturday, November 3, 2007

On Garbage and Rain

I woke up to today to the sound of rain. (Not as it is unusual here in Iceland, but it was Sunday, so I didn’t need to get up immediately and rush around, which doesn’t happen too often.) There is something very comforting in listening to the rain, perhaps it is a monotonous muffled sound of raindrops hitting the roof or sense of security reinforced by being warm, inside, out of its reach. So, I lingered for awhile before diving into the day.
It started pretty mellow, with breakfast in the sunroom and discussion on the differences between bionicles. At some point my restless spirit took over and after cleaning the living room I decided to get the garbage out. Well, what did I see outside? An overflow garbage bin with packages lying here and there, which means only one thing – garbage wasn’t collected this week.
Here are the specifics of this very important function in Hafnarfjordur – each house has its own garbage bin, which usually situated in sort of a small house to protect it from rain and attacks of domestic animals, tempted to rummage through the goodies. When we just arrived in Iceland I spoke with one of the garbage man and was told that rubbish was to be collected twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, and if I have more than can fit in a bin, no problems, I can just put the bag near it. In reality, garbage is gathered once a week and the day of its collection is unpredictably rotating between Tuesdays, Thursdays, everything in between, and no collection at all. Also, if you have an extra bag, sure, you can place it near your bin but they will not take it unless you put it near your bin after they move your bin in the middle of the road for collection. With unpredictable days and times of collection it can be quite a challenging game. You listen to the sound of the garbage track and, if you are lucky to be at home at the exact time when the movers of the bins arrive at your street, you can run out and put your additional bag out too. Once I even succeed at this game!
The silver lining – since most of the garbage bins are hidden away, the streets look presentable, collection or not.

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