dirtier than ever

I did something a bit, well, strange today.  And you know what? I felt pretty bad about it.  I immediately wanted to scream apologies from my window and do something to keep my karma clean.  It’s not that I felt bad about what I did, but I felt bad for thinking it was so.very.strange. Because in all honesty, it was pretty gosh.darn.awesome.
Some people count sheep when they can’t sleep, but I use the spare 30 minutes or so to watch TED talks.  The talks inspire and motivate and inform, and, before I know it, I’m drifting off to sleep with new insights and ideas and conversation starters. 
I couldn’t sleep the other night, and so I watched Robin Nagle’s talk about trash.  Not just trash, but the 11,000 tons of trash that New York City produces each and every single day.

 Nagle points out that sanitation workers toil to keep the city clean, safe, and beautiful, but that they hardly receive a word of thanks for their efforts.  On the contrary, people tend to attach a negative stigma to the people that risk their own health to clean up after us messy folk.

I thought about the random acts I’ve done for police officers and mailmen and other types of public officials, and realized I was guilty of the exact bias Nagle was describing – I’d honestly just never thought that much about my trash (I recycle, but I’m not wondering who is picking it up and where it’s going and all that jazz).
Being that it’s Random Acts of Kindness week, I thought I’d use the opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to the sanitation workers that work (often without recognition) to make our neighborhoods such nice places to live.

29 thoughts on “dirtier than ever

    • i know- i worried about this too! i taped it down pretty well so i don’t think it will go up with the trash.. but who knows- at the end of the day, i think the idea is just as important 🙂

  1. You are such a lovely person, and I TOTALLY WISH we were real life BFF’s!! I listen to a lot of NPR (similar to the TED talks..) and now I think I need to watch some of these talks!! I LOVE learning things like this. My favorite show of ALL time on NPR is radiolab!

    • i love radiolab! and yes, i always think the same thing on your blog – we’d go runs and bake cupcakes and then take pictures of random things and do all sorts of creative projects. it would be wonderful 🙂

  2. When I watch TED talks, I usually binge on them until my brain is fried and I can’t absorb any more great ideas. Love what you did. I think it’s really important to give thanks to people. It makes the world go round. Some days, at my job I believe I would work for praise alone.

  3. This is such a kind idea! You are one of the kindest people I know (well, virtually but…)! 🙂 I live in a complex, but I doubt anyone has given them any thanks! Actually, I don’t even know if they speak much english. But a smile and thanks are universal, right? 🙂

  4. This is the kindest thing I’ve ever heard! How amazed and thankful must they have felt when they found your sweet card! This post really made me feel good 🙂
    Thank you very much for visiting my blog! I really appreciate that!
    Have a nice week!

    Sofie x

  5. This is such a sweet thing to do! I bet it cheered up your neighborhood sanitation folks in a major way 🙂 I so appreciate the guys who pick up our trash. Their trucks don’t have the fancy lift and hoist machinery so they are doing everything BY HAND. It is amazing to me, especially since people don’t really do the best job at putting everything in their trashcans to be picked up…

  6. This is such a nice idea! I haven’t given much thought to the sanitation workers either, until I saw them during the last couple of weeks, collecting trash in sub-zero temperatures. They could seriously get frostbite or something if they have a really long shift that takes place totally outdoors! I couldn’t believe that they were out there collecting trash in that weather–hats off to them!

  7. You are so right!!! I have never given sanitation workers a thought – and how terrible of me! They have a very important job. This was really nice and I’m sure the guy (or gal!) who picked up at that location was honored to be honored by your sweet gesture.

  8. Pingback: Rookie Magazine | The Odd Land of Me

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