Saturday, June 18, 2005

Dumpster Diving

Hardly an Olympic event, dumpster diving is being practiced in most major cities. "...And now at dumpster number one, representing the USA is Wendy Cobb. Cobb will attempting a one-and-a-half Gainer in the pike position."
~ Cobb, 38, of Framingham, Ma., found out Thursday morning just how dangerous the sport of dumpster diving can be. She has had extensive practice diving for redeemable aluminum cans. It seems on this day however, she forgot to check the local pick-up time for this particular neighborhood.
~ Little did she know that her morning foray would turn into a very trashy ordeal. Her previous dives had produced a dozen cans to that point. Apparently she did not hear the garbage truck as it pulled up to the dumpster. Nonetheless, she did feel the hydraulic arms picking up the dumpster. Tossed and pitched along with the trash, to say she was frightened would be putting it mildly. From the open top of the dumpster she could see the building and the metal fire escape moving past her. The arms' relentless movement had carried the dumpster over and beyond the cab of he garbage truck.
~ The noise of the truck's hydraulics and the cry of metal against metal drowned out her screams and cries for help. No one heard her as she along with the dumpster's contents were tilted and sent tumbling into the gaping jaws of the garbage truck's collection tank.
~ Even as the hydraulic arms reversed direction to return the dumpster to its original resting place, she was trying to climb out of the back of the truck. Her hope of escape turned to terror when she heard a new and more terrifying sound. There was movement beneath and around her. Her screams became louder, more desperate as she realized that the truck's compactor had been activated. She would be crushed as surely as the trash in which she was stranded.
~ Michael J. Marotta, the operator of the garbage truck saw a man running toward him, waving his arms frantically and shouting. He immediately shut off the equipment. He could not believe what Jimmy Pennet of Ashland had told him, that someone had been in that dumpster. Somehow the man had heard screams from inside the truck.
~ The two men could only fear the worse, for they heard nothing after the compactor had stopped. Once he had climbed onto the truck and peered inside the trash tank, the driver signaled that the person inside was okay. Perhaps in shock, or just spent after all her screaming, the woman had just collapsed and lay still.
~ A short while later, Cobb was treated for some minor injuries. She had sustained a sprain ankle, a few scrapes and some bruises. Otherwise, she seemed unaffected by her ordeal. She told a reporter on hand that she thought she was going to die. But she was glad to be alive. The EMTs, satisfied that she was okay, decided there was no need to transfer to a hospital. A police officer on the scene, who happened to be in the Dunkin' Donuts next door decided not to file charges against the woman. He did inform her that climbing into dumpsters was considered trespassing, a misdemeanor.
~ Curiously (or not surprisingly) the woman was very upset that garbage truck driver refused to let her retrieve her cans. She watched the truck drive away until it was out of sight. She was last seen walking away down the street, probably lamenting the fate of those cans. Those twelve cans, redeemable for 60 cents, seemed more important than her brush with death.
~ After reading the story in the Friday, June 17 edition of the Boston Herald, I was left with mixed feelings. Just who was Wendy Cobb? Why doesn't she just get a job? Was this the first time she had been called trash? Did she go diving right into the very next dumpster found? That cop, did he return to the coffee shop before or after he made out his report? Do coffee spots on a report make it official? But the most burning question I had was, "Can I make a blog out of this?"
~ I'll close with just one more thought, this time about the garbage truck operator. What a novel way to pick up women!


Karyn Lyndon said...

It's sad when one of the first thoughts after something happens is "Wonder if I can blog about this?" I'm finding myself feeling like Lois Lane lately, looking...even hoping for the next tip or big news break. Maybe I'll start carrying my digital camera

re: trash-woman. It didn't sound like she learned her lesson

duff said...

all that over a mere 60 cents' worth of aluminum?

time to go back to looking for nickels between the couch cushions and pennies on the sidewalk, if you ask me.

Anonymous said...

Yes. It is sad when a near tragic death can lead you to blog it with humor. We have a lot of people who collect the bottles and and cans for a nickle each - it helps keep streets clean - but crawling into a dumpster?

the many Bs said...

one of these days I'll write a blog about my dumpster diving experience. Pretty funny too! Where did everyone put their sense of humor?