24 October 2007


About a month and a half ago, our trashcan was stolen. Or liberated. Or set free. Or had it's plastic ass raptured outta here somehow.

It's not unusual. The previous home-owner had done a pretty bad job of painting the house numbers on the can, but the numbers were there. Every few months, the can disappears for a week. I figure a neighbor mistakenly (or deliberately) snatches the wrong one from the alley, after the trash is collected. No big deal. It always comes back.

It always comes back, right?

Not so! After two weeks, we became worried that our tubby green plastic-rubber pal had been spirited away for good.

Not knowing if it would even work, I requested another through the DC Gov't website. That was on 11sept. I was given a projected "resolution date" of 12sept.

Wow, I thought, that's ambitious. Next day. Hmm.

Next day came, with no can delivered. Day after, no can. Admittedly, I don't trust online service-requests like this. Typically you enter data and click the FLUSH INTO OBLIVION button. So, no surprises here. Our neighbor had loaned us one of his extra cans, so we weren't exactly drowning in garbage. But it was looking like we'd have to blow some cash on a new one.

But then a magic cloud of government pixie-dust descended upon the District of Columbia. It was Friday, 19oct, maybe 6pm. Having hopped off the bus at Georgia Avenue, I walked up to the house and was faced with a beautiful thing. Manna from Fenty:

It was a virgin SUPERCAN, untainted by kitchen wastes or hefty-bags. It was beautiful: not yet rained upon, nor dented by cars, nor peed-upon by psychotic squirrels.

The SUPERCAN: DC's newly redesigned household trashcan, with attached lid to keep rats out, and all that trashy goodness in... For one bright moment, my faith in local government had been restored.

It was, and I only exaggerate slightly here, our happiest day ever. Marian and I held hands and giggled in the street as rose-petals fell from the skies... I mean, hell, once in a while the system works. Even if it was a few weeks after that unrealistic "resolution date."

Then a gratuitous photo-shoot of the new can ensued. I can imagine our neighbors watching this, terrified, through closed blinds...what in satan's name is that man doing??!?!

No matter. We shall stencil the living crap outta this can, and we shall embrace the civic majesty of TRASH DAY. Oh yes.


Anonymous said...

These may be, and I say this with complete objectivity, the greatest photos of trashcans ever taken.

Anonymous said...

Did you have to pay?

IntangibleArts said...

HB: Nope. Not a penny spent. I claim total ignorance on how to get this done, which is what dc.gov is there for, I guess. I logged in a service request, explained my situation, and let it fly. Maybe I'm too cynical, but I really didn't expect real, tangible results.

And nothing is quite as tangible as a brand new SuperCan, I tell you.

Reya Mellicker said...

I love these pics! You can make anything look good, even super cans. We, too, lose ours for a week at a time - it's random, though, and it has always been returned on the next trash day.

The things DC does well, it does very very well - like the super cans, and also the bulk trash pickup service works extremely well.

Too bad that the (many) things DC does badly, it does VERY BADLY indeed. It's a city of extremes. That's why I love/hate it here.

Anonymous said...

we have a homeless man that lives in our carport sometimes (despite us telling him to leave.) he brings a lot of clutter and sometimes brings trash cans from other houses. our cans go missing too so sometimes i think he either sells them or swaps them with neighbors to confuse us.

Anonymous said...

DC wouldn't give us a free trash can when our was stolen :( We had to actually file a police report for a stolen supercan (let me assure you, the cops will look at you like you're a moron when you tell them why they've been dispatched to your house). Even with the police report, the city still charged us a $20 delivery fee. Wish I had had the same luck as you guys.

IntangibleArts said...

I heard something about that (needing a police report), but it just sounded so insanely stupid -- I mean, there's ideal use of police time, right?

Hence, I went through dc.gov and did a "service request" through the site. What I was asking for almost didn't fit the online form, but I did it anyway (est. date of the theft, etc).

Sounds like there's a few ways of getting these cans replaced, some more expensive than others...

Anyway, that's why I did the post; I figured others might try this method before hassling the cops and spending more $$$ for a can that might be stolen like the others...

Anonymous said...

Dang. I'm filled with envy. We don't get supercans in Baltimore. We don't even get cans.

Anonymous said...

one day... i hope to marry a man with a supercan...*sigh*

HomeImprovementNinja said...

My can disappeared yesterday. I, uhhh, borrowed one from my neighbors this morning.

Jamie said...

Now that you've got a sparkling new supercan, you NEED to spraypaint your address on it. I realize it will taint it's beauty, but it will also guarantee that it doesn't get stolen again. Few are bold enough to actually steal (and use) a trashcan with their neighbor's address painted on it...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post! Mine has disappeared, and I'm starting to think it's gone for good too. Where are all these trashcans disappearing to??

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