OPINION: The Street Sweeper Should Be Allowed to Eat Your Car

The street sweeper. The highlight of any New Yorker’s Thursday and/or Friday mid-morning to early afternoon. Maybe they do it other days and times in other neighborhoods, I don’t know. The highlight of any city-liver’s week, I’m sure. There’s nothing better than watching a big truck with a big brush attached to it come by and slurp up all the trash, leaves, and other detritus that gathers in our gutters like so much dust on a bookshelf.

And there’s nothing worse than watching that big truck have to weave around a couple of jerks who didn’t get the memo, leaving that empty packet of mini Oreos and the Gatorade bottle full of what you’re just going to keep telling yourself is lemon-lime Gatorade to clutter the spaces between your neighbor’s cars for another week. During which time, of course, more debris will gather.

Why should the rest of us have to suffer a mound of unsightly, unsanitary trash just because one person forgot to move their car with everyone else, at the same time everyone has been moving theirs for, one assumes, eternity? I propose a better way.

The street sweeper is already out there clearing a path through any low-level street crud in its way. Why not simply supe-up what is clearly a successful, time-tested formula, and let that bad boy swallow the next Subaru that fails to honor its weekly sweepin’ time?

I am confident that it would not take many uses of the Car Gobbler™ for people to sit up and take notice. Once everyone’s aware of the stakes, you can bet those streets will be cleared out on time week in, as well as week out. It will not be a difficult policy update to communicate to the public. It’s a pretty effective visual message on its own. Folks will not need to watch this thing munch on a Mazda more than one time in order to understand how it’s going to be from now on.

Alternate-side parking will become self-enforcing overnight, once the Auto Eater™ hits the streets. Do you have any idea how many parking tickets that will cut down on? And it certainly isn’t going to generate any paperwork of its own. When this thing feeds on a Fiat, it don’t leave no evidence. Car? What car? I don’t see any cars on this side of the street! Another successful street sweeping day!

This is not to mention the climate impact. There are too many cars on the road as it is. You want to expedite the process of removing some of those cars? We don’t have any more time to try to get the American people interested in bikes, or to redesign our cities and towns in such a way that they are in any way traversable by human beings. Get this thing out there inhaling Impalas, scarfing Scions, and nibbling Nissans twice a week from 11am to 1pm. Suddenly we’re not just cleaning up the streets, we’re cleaning up the atmosphere. Boom, planet saved.

The Department of Sanitation will never have a job listing to operate this thing open for more than a week. I don’t know a single living soul who wouldn’t jump at the chance to get paid to devour a Dodge. It’ll be the new “it” job. People will cheer them as they approach. They’ll run screaming. They’ll stand bemused as they think, “wait, but where does the car go?” It’ll be a major event on par with the Superbowl every single week. Entire industries will pop up to follow this thing. Morning news will have a dedicated segment. It’ll have its own reality show. There’ll be YouTube channels and TikTok influencers following this thing like the McRib.

Look, maybe I’m getting high on my own supply here, but I’m not seeing a downside to this. You might think this is an uncouth, unfeeling opinion coming from someone who works from home and doesn’t own a car. And that’s true.

Anyway, this is my religion now, and I won’t rest until I can run to the window every Thursday and Friday afternoon and watch this hot monstrosity dine on a Daimler, polish off a Porsche, put away a Pontiac, and chow down on a Chevy.

Just let the street sweeper eat a fucking car.

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