Disco Rice, and Other Trash Talk; Picking Up the Garbage Means Picking Up the Lingo

Trash stinks, and as the summer heats up and the rain casts a musty net over the air, it stinks more. So the garbage workers step into the spotlight. The summer is the sanitation workers' moment to be heroes, like firefighters at a four-alarmer or police officers at a murder scene. The garbage crews clear the air and make way for the next day's mass consumption. But listen closely. Safeguarding New York City from olfactory assault are its 6,200 sanitation workers. You may notice them in their sweaty haul from curb to truck, but understanding what they say is a different matter. That's because the insular subculture of this thankless job requires a lingo almost as funky as the work itself.

By IAN URBINA

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