Any BC alum who was paying attention (or who ever set foot in the mods) is well aware of the Can Lady, who trudged around campus on Saturday and Sunday mornings retrieving our empties from bushes and sidewalks. Even the most justice-oriented undergrad (and there were plenty vying for that award) could use her activity as an opportunity to feel self-righteous about littering, of all things.
In retrospect this was probably not good for the moral development of BC’s privileged students – and before you get all huffy, fellow alums, let me remind you that anyone who can go to a school like that is privileged one way or another, either with family influence, wealth, or simple academic inclination. So what if we had small Asian woman cleaning up the debris of our attempts at bacchanalia? We were doing her a favor, or at least that’s what we convinced ourselves.
With due respect to my Boston College roots, there is a new can lady in my life. She lives around the corner from me and her back deck leans out over the path to my backdoor. I can remember one evening out with a friend of a friend who happened to live down the block who started talking about our charming can lady. “I give her all my empties and she calls me her angel!” the young woman effervesced. I am sure I shocked her when I started complaining about the cute old Lithuanian lady in the babushka.
In fact, I probably came off like a complete shrew. But on Tuesday night, the night before garbage day, I was repeatedly awakened through the night by her rattling through her empty bottles. I really don’t know what she does on that deck with all the empties, but it involves relentless clanking all through the night. I am getting the urge to type all in enraged caps just thinking about it.
I have also seen her going through my garbage bags. I don’t know which is more insulting, the violation of my private space or the insinuation that I don’t recycle.
But what is most disturbing to me are all the moochers who have teamed up with her to use her space. There is a parade of people in and out of the gate next to mine, wheeling their suitcases and shopping carts up and down the street to see what they can get from our garbage. One of them sent her son who couldn’t have been more than ten down the street to pick through the barrels looking for good stuff.
For what it’s worth, I don’t think that any member of the Can Lady Consortium is sinister enough to have been the person who burglarized the apartment last fall. I still could do without my corner being dumpster diving central.