Friday, February 23, 2018

Trash Talk

No, not the usual associations with Trash Talk. You may feel free to read on without trepidation.

This is about language ... and also, winter: two themes for the price of one as it were.

First, in terms of language, permit me to note in passing that as far as I can tell, trash is the more common British word, while North Americans tend to refer to refuse as garbage.

But that's just in passing and not really what I am on about in this post. In my usual lexicon, I use garbage.

It's a collective noun: at least to some degree. Or at least we usually use it that way. It's like fish: most of us would say all the fish in the sea and not all the fishes. And my ears react to people saying deers as opposed to deer. To me, no matter how many of those critters that I see in the field, they are deer.

We use garbage so collectively that, normally, if we were just talking of one component of our collective garbage, we would say piece of garbage.

But my son-in-law [former] is a French Canadian. Come Garbage Day, he would collect all of the garbages in the house. (You see, spellcheck highlighted garbages as incorrect, just as it did deers above.)

I can see that it would make sense for someone coming to English as a second language. I mean, you go to different rooms to collect the various wastebaskets. It's all very plural, and we generally put s's* on things plural, so I can see why he called them garbages in this context. It makes perfect sense. But English often doesn't make perfect sense. It just is what it is.

Which brings me to part 2: garbage in winter.

Where to put it?

Yesterday, I had to partially block the driveway because there was no other place for it.

The sidewalk in front of our yard was already half covered with ice (you can't really see it in that photo) so to put it there would pretty well block off the whole sidewalk, which didn't seem appropriate.

Usually, I try to dig a little notch for the bins so that I can more or less keep them off the driveway to facilitate driving in and out without crashing into the bins. In fact, you can begin to see where I once had a notch in the photo, right next to the blue recycling bins.

But this was pretty well iced up yesterday, and I wasn't about to try to chisel out a notch. So we were forced to drive around the bins with care.

And that, my friends, is my very obscure post of the day.

* I found myself doing a search for the correct way to pluralize s, and it was confirmed that it is s's. Seems awkward though, doesn't it?


Marie Smith said...

A British person I know refers to rubbish and bins. There iaa great deal of variety for garbage terminology!

Anvilcloud said...

It's odd that we just use bins for the recycling containers but cans for garbage. Hereabouts anyway. I wonder how it goes in other places in Canada and NA.

Joanne Noragon said...

And our garbages did not make it to the curb today. My garbage collector forgot.

Debbie said...

Mind boggling stuff, it is garbage at my house!!

Shammickite said...

It's rubbish, not trash. Trash is Amurrican.

troutbirder said...

I understood every nuance of this weighty problem as a serious ice episode here lead me to exactly the same problem on my driveway....

Sue F said...

For what it's worth... I (as a Brit) would say 'rubbish' . In the UK (and indeed in Cyprus) we put out the rubbish bins for the dustmen to collect. As I understand it, Americans say either 'trash' or 'garbage' and have 'trash cans' or 'garbage cans' rather than rubbish bins. We use 'trash' as a verb - someone might trash their room, or their house - but not so much as a noun.

MARY G said...

Hmm. Maybe 'eses'. Nah. Out here in the sticks we have a garbage dump, to which place you drive with the garbage bags. Which we pull out of the trash cans. Both of us grew up in border towns where the names for things were somewhat mixed up. I have heard Brits say that something should be 'binned'. .?
And it was garbage day today at our icy dump.

Haddock said...

Yes English is a funny language and at times I find it amusing the way the same word is used by the British and the Americans. Wonder what Shakespeare will have to say about "Trash"

Kay said...

We use both trash and garbage in Hawaii. Then again, locals will also use the Hawaiian work: opala. One nice thing about living in Hawaii is that we don't have to worry about shoveling a space for our opala.

Jim Flack said...

I use garbage to describe the gross wet stuff that is left from cooking or left in the refrigerator too long and usually goes down the disposal. Of course, growing up we had no disposal so we had "garbage cans." Trash is the refuse of everyday life, mostly paper and so on that collects in the waste bins throughout the house. Rubbish is the "stuff" that blows around outside that collects in the corners and along the curbs. I live near a convenience store and seem to have a lot of rubbish that gets thrown down along my property line, which is also a city alley. Yikes! I gather it daily in the nice months and try to pick up any that I see coming out of the snow as it melts in winter. It's all the same and can be lumped into the garbage category and put into the trash bin and taken to the street for the rubbish collection on Thursday mornings.

Jenn Jilks said...

I don't do garbage anymore, now that JB's back is somewhat better!