Each month, between 1 and 2 p.m., the Department of Public Works holds a live online chat for District residents who might have inquiries smack in the middle of the workday. This month, “leaf collection” was the order of business—surely an enthralling topic for all two participants who sought information from the agency during today’s chat. We present here the session’s highlights.

1:05 p.m.: Commenter Ellen diligently follows instructions to place leaves in tree boxes near her home on the 3500 block of 16th Street, yet must place several calls to DPW before leaves are collected due to parking restrictions. She begs for advice.

1:10: DPW informs Ellen that leaf collection does not begin until street sweeping ends Oct. 31st. Looks like Ellen will have to wait.

1:11: Commenter Teresa complains that leaves blow out of tree boxes before collections: “What options do we have for placing bagged leaves in the tree box for collection?”

1:13: DPW encourages bagged leaves, especially since it prevents people from slipping on wet leaves.

1:15: Ellen isn’t satisfied. The parking restrictions have nothing to do with street sweeping, but with rush hour.

1:17: DPW responds ambiguoulsy, “We will collect between rush hour on the collection days” to avoid traffic congestion and safety issues.

1:30: Ellen comes back for a final zing: “The dense presence of parked cars outside of rush hour times is why our leaves are never collected. I will just plan on following up with DPW after our last collection has passed and the leaves are still there.”

1:31: DPW refuses to take her sass. “Actually, Ellen, our crews do work around cars and other vehicles parked in front of the treeboxes. We will make sure that this occurs this year.”

The next 28 minutes were devoid of comment. Perhaps most leaf enthusiasts are wandering the Vermont countryside.

1:59: DPW posts one wrap-up message stating that leaf collection doesn’t actually start until Nov. 7.

2:00: Teresa now has a question about which type of bag to use.

2:01: DPW doesn’t really care, but prefers “paper yard waste bags.”

Photo by Flickr user pdeonarain, Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license