There is no residential trash pick up in Alaska, so all trash must be manually taken to your local dumpster. Since everybody knows each other in Alaska, lots of Alaskans hang out and chat for long periods of time at the dumpsters- it’s like the Alaskan equivalent of a coffee shop.
This might not sound so bad if you’ve never visited an Alaskan dump where you are sure to step through rotting halibut smeared into gravel. The smell is pretty overbearing, but what really gets me is that Alaskans commonly sit on top of the dumpsters while they chat and hang out! I’m not talking about brand new dumpsters behind an office supply store. I’m talking about stanky, ancient dumpsters stained with raven feces and maggot infested hamburgers.
I’d been fascinated with this Alaskan immunity to grotesque levels of filth for months when I happened upon a feral child scurrying around my local dumpster. The small girl popped her head up from where she sat wedged between the dumpster and a cement curb. She stared at me while seated in a cluster of fast food wrappers and oil stains. Suddenly she darted out from the dumpster, and I realized she was wearing nothing but a saggy pair of underwear. Her parents were shoveling out their truck bed while her brother lounged around on top of the dumpster.
This wasn’t the first time I wanted to call social services in Alaska. One day I happened upon an Alaskan baby playing with a plugged in power drill. I can see the church newsletter headlines now – Stigmata on Alaskan infant proves Jesus blesses natural gas pipeline!