Thanking your garbage man

Bridgette Fossel wrote this for the PrincetonScoop's Random Acts of Kindness Project:

[quote]As time passed, several cars drove by on the busy road with a 40 mph speed limit, heads from inside the vehicles were arching their necks and staring at my sign that read, “Have you thanked your Garbagemen today?!”. Some people beeped in approval with one hand while holding their morning coffee in the opposite one. Others displayed a smile on their faces, waved or gave me a ‘thumbs-up’. One man in a landscaping company pick-up truck even took both hands off the wheel and dangerously gave me two thumbs up and beeped with a smile and cheer.

There were many cars; however, whose eyes my sign did not catch, and then there were those who just started. Maybe those cars were accelerating too fast to read, comprehend and react to the sign. Or perhaps they did read it, thought about the words on my sign as I was a distant image in the rearview mirror, and wondered when, if ever, was the last time they thanked or even acknowledged their garbagemen. That is the goal of this project; to make people think and inspire them to duplicate our act or do their own.[/quote]

Growing up in the British West Indies, I remember my parents would personally present a nominal tip bottle rum — it's the drink of choice in the West Indies — to the sanitation workers during the Christmas holidays. Over the years, I had thought of doing the same thing with the garbage crew for my neighbourhood, but I wasn't sure of American protocol. Would they understand? Would they think I'm some wacko?

Bridgette's post has reminded me to do something that I had long forgotten that I wanted to do. So this October, during the Hindu festival of Diwali, I will think of a way to thank my sanitation worker. Or maybe I'll do it during Thanksgiving week.

March 18, 2011 - Into the woods ...

I'm home today with a bad case of vertigo. The diazepam failed me during the night, and I woke up with the ceiling spinning and a queasy stomach. I felt a little better after breakfast — and a dose of diazepam — so I decided to go out for a walk in the woods near my home. Inspired by the purple crocus that is now blooming in my garden patch, I took my D40 with attached Nikkor f/1.8 prime and went in search of exotic flora.

I was not disappointed. I found these alien-looking plants poking out from beneath the dried leaves. I had never seen anything like this before, but they reminded me of some of the tubers that grow in the tropical rainforest of the British West Indies where I grew up. I also had flashbacks of alien movies where the aliens hatch from pods that they planted on earth in preparation for their invasion. These are nothing that sinister but they do have a sinister-sounding name, Skunk cabbage. After returning home I did a quick Wikipedia search.

Skunk Cabbage | Friday 18 March, 2011 | Nikon D40 | AF-S Nikkor 35 mm f/1.8

Eastern Skunk Cabbage, Clumpfoot Cabbage, Foetid Pothos, Meadow Cabbage, Polecat Weed, Skunk Cabbage, or Swamp Cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus), commonly known as simply Skunk Cabbage, is a low growing, foul-smelling plant that prefers wetlands. It can be found naturally in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and southern Quebec west to Minnesota, and south to North Carolina and Tennessee, and also in northeastern Asia, in eastern Siberia, northeastern China, Korea and Japan. Skunk cabbage is protected as a state endangered plant in Tennessee.

I am so happy I did not touch them. The weird-looking pods I photographed are the flowers of the plant. Later in the year, broad green leaves will appear.