Wednesdays are special days in my neighborhood. It’s the day that Marc “Somebody” stops by to clean out a little corner of my world. He painlessly rids us of the grime, goo, and waste that fits into our 96 gallon trash receptacle. He does this weekly, before the birds sing. Oh how I love garbage day!
After recently cleaning out our basement, I donated “treasures” to the Salvation Army and an excessive amount of trash to Marc’s truck. Dumping all those bags made me feel like Santa when he tosses sacks of toys into his sleigh. The basement overhaul required two Wednesday visits from Marc. I was tempted to bag up the rest of the junk and spread the holiday cheer into each of my neighbors’ cans. I stopped myself though, remembering an incident that happened years ago with the family next door.
Before you judge, please note that I was a good neighbor to these folks. I invited their kids over for playdates and yearly swimming lessons. When I baked cookies, I shared, as did they. When I ran out of sugar, I knocked on their door with a cup they would fill. When I earned 30 gallons of free gas at GetGo, I’d fill up their extra gas cans too. Anyhow, when you share your pool, and kids, and gasoline perks, isn’t there some unspoken rule that you can share trash space too? I don’t know. Maybe my expectations for returning the favors are a bit high.
That summer, my family and friends and I celebrated three different holidays at my house within two weeks: Father’s Day, my daughter’s sixth birthday, and the Fourth of July. I invited the next door neighbors to my kid’s gig, but they declined since they’d be traveling in their RV for a multi-week excursion camping across the country. Like a good neighbor, I offered to get their mail and newspaper, but their local family would do it when they took care of their lawn and garden.
After all those parties, I accumulated too many Hefty Bag leftovers. Plus Marc had Independence Day off, so it was really piling up. Tri-County Industries customers aren’t allowed to put out extra bags, so, on Garbage Eve, I squeezed in what I could, leaving the lid ajar, and parked my can at the end of the driveway.
The next morning, I finished painting my daughter’s bedroom and wanted to get rid of the drop cloths and paint paraphernalia. I went to retrieve the garbage can, but Marc had not yet arrived. He was already four hours late! As I walked back to my house, I spied the next door neighbors’ garbage can standing guard at the foot of the road like a good soldier. Hmm, how much trash could be in there since they’d been gone for weeks? I got as far as my front porch when I was compelled to check for a possible vacancy in their can.
I dashed over and stole a quick peek. Oh my my! There were merely some grass clippings and sticks. I struck the mother load of about 90 gallons of wasted space! I know. I know. I should have requested permission to dump my extras, but they weren’t home to ask. I couldn’t stop myself, and, before I knew it, I retrieved my bag full of Oceanside Blue and Key Lime Pie paint debris. I slam-dunked it over their lawn scraps. Score!
I got greedier and had to make another trip. What was the harm? That garbage bin wasn’t being used to its full potential. It was practically abandoned and useless, so why not give that soldier some Fourth of July remnants?
I ran to my garage for more rubbish. I tripped over the floral chair cushions that lay inside since Father’s Day, when we got a great deal on four waterproof, striped ones. I gathered the old ones, balancing two under each arm, and sprinted like a quarterback across my lawn for another score. The cushion corpses fell to the ground as I flung open the lid to lay each to rest in the upright coffin. I had to push and shove and swear and sweat and finally settled with them sticking out a bit. I was unsure when the neighbors or their family would return, so I, obviously, wanted to hide the evidence.
Yes, I was sneaky and therefore afraid and guilty to be trashing their can without them knowing. I certainly didn’t want to get caught in the act, nor did I want them to worry if they saw a mysterious bouquet of puffy pillows. Where in the world was Marc?!
I anxiously ran home and while washing my hands clean of the garbage, I felt a sense of accomplishment and relief to be in the clear.
I offered my girls a Disney puzzle to build while I removed the painter’s tape. Shortly after, I heard kids’ voices outside. Oh boy, did my young daughters go outside without asking? I looked out the window and didn’t see them. I ran out to the living room where they were on the floor completing the border of Mickey Mouse.
Who could be out there giggling? Oh no! Chutes and Ladders! The next door neighbor kids came back before Marc did!
Their parents’ RV wasn’t there, so I couldn’t figure out how long they’d been home. Who were they with? Did they notice the cushions? Did they see me dumpster dunking? Did they hear me swearing? How many times did I go over there? One-two-three! Ugh! The paranoia of getting busted set in.
I told my girls I had to go next door for a moment. They asked why, and I told them I might have done something inappropriate and needed to find out if I got caught.
To be continued…