As fate would have it, he was busy on his cell phone, and not wishing to appear rude I patiently waited for an opening to forward my inquiry. Unfortunately, before long the light changed, he executed a left turn, and off he drove down the boulevard chatting away, leaving my question unaired.
Now, I know that it's illegal and dangerous to use a hand-held cell phone while driving, especially an expensive piece of equipment like a garbage truck, but last year I read somewhere that the majority of cellular conversations are between mothers and their children.
Well, heck, being the old, snarky, obnoxious jerk columnist that I am, even I am hard-pressed to deny a refuse worker that special warmth and reassurance he receives by talking to his mother while picking up our trash, so of course I chose not to report the incident.
However, in the interest of safety (and keeping more lawsuits from piling up downtown), maybe in the future the Public Works Department would consider instituting a special 10-minute "Pull over and call your mommy break" so our diligent garbage collectors can make the call without endangering the public in the process. Of course, another viable option might be to let Mom come along for the ride.
At first glance I know this might appear to be a bit preposterous, but think of the sensational public relations coup we could realize with a policy like this. It certainly would go a long way toward covering up some of the ugly stains recently inflicted on our city by one of the other departments.