Monologue of a dumpster

Por: José Antonio Michelena


Today I turned ten and I am still here, in the same place where I was born and continue my life cycles: growth and decline, like almost all my twin brothers in the city.
Sometimes I grow up so much that I become a giant. For that I feed on papers, cartons, fruit and vegetable peels, food scraps, knobs, cans, crystals, fabrics, tree branches, tables, chairs, windows, tools, debris; car parts, computers, kitchens, refrigerators, phones, televisions; and everything imaginable.
When I acquire great proportions I extend in all directions, so much so that cars and trucks have a hard time passing through the street because I occupy it in a good part. Some people pass quickly, with their mouths and noses covered. Looks like I’m disgusting you. Others don’t, they don’t even look at me with contempt.
The ones who visit me the most are rats, cockroaches, flies, cats, dogs and divers. Of the latter there are several types, but they are classified into two large groups: occasional and professional. The former eventually pick up a table, chair, goat, some sand or a piece of window. The latter are divided according to their area of expertise: those looking for cans of beers and soft drinks, bottles, cartons; or those looking for food.
Those who dive food also form two groups. The first is made up of those who belong to the last step of poverty, the homeless; but there are other food divers with another rank: pig breeders.
Divers who raise pigs run through the dumpsters with a can to pour food and a tool to dig into the container. Some wear gloves and bottle caps to protect themselves. Sometimes they go in pairs and apply a social division of work: one holds the can and the other extracts and pours the content.
As pig breeding is a profitable occupation, they interpret diving as a modus vivendi as respectable as any other, without any complex. If someone comes up with the attention they make, pig breeders can become very aggressive. That’s what all divers look like. I say: leave them alone, don’t bother them, that’s what law enforcement officers are for, and they don’t tell them anything.
Pig-breeding divers usually ride bikes so they can move quickly from one place to another and get there first. I have seen disputes between divers claiming their hegemony, their right to dive: no one can come from another neighborhood to dig in their area before them.
In so long I’ve been in this place, I’ve been able to get to know the people who come to dump garbage. There are those who always throw it in the container (when it is not packed). Even if it’s closed, they open it to throw it in. And there are those who don’t care the same about throwing it wherever they want. It’s not your problem, they say.
Another group of everyday visitors is the one who pours debris. They arrive with their wheelbarrows and spread the debris everywhere. Then, above the rubble, people leave bath cups, sinks, kitchens, doors, branches, weeds… and I start to grow and grow.
As the days go by and I’ve grown so big that rats and flies are partying everywhere and the nearest neighbors have grown tired of protesting and complaining, so the communal trucks arrive. They come with an excavator that collects everything, but also further destroys the fence of the warehouse that is at the bottom, the sidewalk, the street… And it deepens and extends more the gap that swallows everything, the hole where everything sinks, where I reproduce again in another cycle and another and another.

Garbage cans

Just yesterday the trucks came, took a mountain of garbage and reduced me to the slightest expression; In addition, they left new collecting tanks; but I know this order won’t be for long. The communal services will be absent again for several days and the wheels of the tanks will also begin to disappear, they will become useless, and the garbage will expand again, taking over the space.
I have heard that in other parts of the city they have made an effort to eradicate my brothers, but here there are no hotels, no tourists pass, no one lives important, I only care about the nearest neighbors. Isn’t this neighborhood part of the village?
You know what? It is not pleasant to be a dumpster, it is not pleasant to be a burrow of rats, flies, cockroaches, to have this bad smell, to know that we represent marginality, bad habits, social indiscipline, unhealthiness, inculturation, and to be despised by educated people and good customs. It’s embarrassing. Someone should put an end to our existence forever. But when will that moment come? Ω

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