One not-terribly-interesting change that I’ve experienced since moving to Ohio involves recycling.
In Chicago, recycling bins were always pretty readily accessible, even though the buildings where I lived didn’t always provide them. Here, they are less so.
However, there is a recycling center that’s not too inconvenient: It’s basically down the street from the good grocery store (there’s another one that’s very close to where I live, but it’s a bit sketchy, and it makes pretty clear that produce is not its jam) so I’m in the area at least once a week.
I went there for the first time last weekend, and it went… well…
It’s the weather’s fault, really. I decided to walk there, rather than bike, because it had been raining all morning and wet roads will get you nicely moist, even if it’s not raining.
There is an attendant at the recycling center, and going there on foot really, really, really messed with his head.
He was obviously suspicious when I came in. That really kicked up when I was finished dropping off my stuff, which is slightly my fault. I had another errand to run, which was across the street from the grocery store. So instead of walking out the typical entrance and exit, I tried to go through the back of the recycling center. I didn’t, as there was both a rather rusty fence blocking the path (which could have been jumped) and a more-significant-than-I-realized highway with no good crossing, except the main one that I already knew about (which led me to turn back.)
This unauthorized exploration was simply too much for the attendant, and he had to confront me.
I explained my slight awkwardness, that I was new in the area and had never been there and wanted to see if it was possible to cut across to the bank (which was my other errand, even though I neglected to mention it earlier. My apologies).
“You can’t go through that way,” he informed me quite needlessly.
“I see that now,” I said.
“You just get out of jail?” he demanded.
One more bit of local geography you’ll need to fully understand the story: Across the street from the recycling center in the other direction from the bank is the local juvenile detention center.
So, the attendant was very confident that I just gotten out of there. No, not “gotten out of there.” The tone of voice which which he asked if I had just gotten out of jail suggested he thought that I had escaped, and that he was about to score himself a bounty.
Because the first thing a 41-year-old does upon escaping from juvie is take some recycling in.
(Also, to keep it OCR related: I happened to be wearing a Spartan finisher t-shirt from last year’s Citi Field sprint at the time. Perhaps those are as readily available at juvenile hall as they are at Citi Field, which raises some questions about Mets fans that I’m sure Phillies fans would be happy to exploit, if they knew how to read.)
I assured him that I was not actually a criminal, but he wasn’t going to give up on his opportunity for Justice™ that easily. “Then why are you on foot?”
“Because I walked here” was my fairly obvious response. Looking back, I think his inquiry was more high-minded and philosophical—as in, “Why didn’t you drive?” As in, “driving is the only possible way to move between two points.”
Which suggests pretty strongly that, despite working at a recycling center, he hadn’t quite considered the implications of his work in the broader environmentalist context.
He demanded to know where I had walked from. I told him, and he informed me that it wasn’t possible to do so. I reminded him about the off-road trail that brought me nearly halfway, and the ample sidewalks on the other half of the trip.
The attendant did not believe me. But he also wasn’t accustomed to having someone respond to him as if they were saying logical things. It threw him, and he couldn’t come up with any more lines of inquisition, and I was free to go. I mean, that’s what he was thinking, even though we both knew that he had no authority to hold me there, and I was only staying around because it amused me. He didn’t say anything to me, but just sort of shook his head and backed away murmuring about how confusing the whole situation was.
I hope he’s happy… he single-handedly put another junior felon back on the streets