Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mystery recycling

From the LA Times:

"About a month ago, Gloria Sohacki goes out to roll her big blue recycling bin to the curb for pickup, but it's so heavy she can barely budge it. Two neighborhood boys see her struggling and come by to help, and Sohacki says, 'What is in here, a dead body?'

"She pops the lid, peeks inside and finds hundreds of copies of a soft-core magazine called Cybersocket, a monthly promo for a triple-X Web magazine by the same name. On the cover is a shirtless, come-hither youth who is pulling his pants down. The headlines include, 'THE FUTURE OF THE PORN INDUSTRY,' 'THE BOYS OF BEL AMI,' and 'WHY WE LOVE STR8 BOYS.'

"Sohacki quickly shuts the lid and tells the boys thanks, but she'll be fine without their help. 'I didn't want them to see that stuff,' she says, which is understandable. She works as an administrative assistant at a neighborhood youth center, where she doubles as the dispatcher for the anti-graffiti patrol. It might have been difficult to explain why she had a trash can full of bare butts and stories about gay sex.

"Sohacki then manages to wrestle the bin down to the street for pickup, but when she returns home from work, the truck has come and gone and the magazines are still there. So she bulls the bin back onto the sidewalk until a week later, when she opens the lid and finds that the sex magazines have multiplied like rabbits.

"Again, she pushes the bin to the curb.

"Again, the truck blows right past it.

" 'I am not nuts, you can ask Hilda,' Sohacki said in her e-mail to me. 'I secretly think someone is targeting me in the hopes I will answer the ads in the magazines -- after all, I am a gorgeous-looking 62-year-old redhead -- just kidding.'

"Sohacki moonlights as a hostess at Taix restaurant, where she told her story to customer and friend Jesus Sanchez, who posted her predicament on his Eastsider blog.

" 'My problem,' she told the Eastsider, 'is that if the delivery person makes another drop next week it will overflow onto the sidewalk . . . and then onto the street where the rain will probably cause it to float into the storm drain and go out to sea.'

"Sohacki said she called the office of Councilman Ed Reyes and was told to transfer some of the magazines to other recycling bins so the trash truck could handle the load. But diving down through all those magazines did not appeal to her.

"She guessed a distributor was dumping Cybersocket instead of delivering it to news racks, so she looked up the name of the owner in the index and fired off an e-mail.

" 'I apologize,' Cybersocket founder Morgan Sommer promptly responded. 'We are on the issue today.'

"But a week later, Sohacki's bin was still filled to the brim. There might have been as many as 1,000 magazines in there.

"On Friday morning, she scooped a copy of the latest issue out of the can.

" 'It says, "Virtual sex is now a reality," ' she told me.

" 'What does that mean?' I asked.

" 'I have no idea,' Sohacki said, flipping through the magazine. 'Looks to me like they've got more plugs than sockets in here.' "

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