Saturday, February 19, 2011


One bad thing about living on a private road is the town doesn’t pick up my trash. And believe me, if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s making trash.

The first time I made the 8-mile trip to the town dump, I was overwhelmed. For one thing, there was a long line of vehicles waiting to get in. Then, once I got into the place, I was surrounded by huge dumpsters all labeled for different items. By the time I figured out which trash to dump where, my car had fully absorbed the haunting aroma of “eau de garbage” that had leaked out of one of the bags in my back seat. I had to buy three of those little pine-tree deodorizers to kill the smell.

The next day, I called a bunch of trash-removal companies to see if I could find one that would make the trip up to the boonies to pick up my trash. I finally found one – one of the largest companies in the world.

And every Friday morning since then, for over a year now, between 7:30 and 8 a.m., the truck arrives and hauls away my trash. And every three months like clockwork, I receive a bill.

Our driveway is over 400 feet long, so taking the trash out to the road is no easy chore. My initial plan was to drive the trash barrels out to the road, but I couldn’t lift them into the hatchback of my car. So I bought barrels on wheels, and now I drag them down the driveway every Friday morning at 7, rain or shine, heat wave or cold snap. I did try putting out the barrels the night before, figuring their snap-on lids would prevent scavengers from getting into them and making a mess, but once again I’d figured wrong.

The good thing about living in the woods is there are no neighbors to see what I look like when I take out the trash early in the morning. My mirror has assured me it’s not a pretty sight. Usually I throw on a coat (or in the summer, a robe) over my pajamas or nightgown, have my hair in curlers, no makeup, and no partial denture, which is still sitting in a cup in the cabinet.

Fortunately, the only living thing that has caught me looking that way (aside from my poor husband), is a squirrel…and to this day, I think it’s still suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Last Friday morning, I was a little late taking the trash out to the road. Instead of 7 a.m., it was 7:30 by the time I headed outside. The minute I stepped out the door I stopped dead. I could have sworn I heard a truck’s engine running.

Our house isn’t visible from the road, so I hid behind a tree and peeked around it. There, sitting at the end of the driveway…waiting…was the garbage truck.

I quickly ducked back behind the tree and wondered what I should do. If I took the barrels down to the truck, my appearance probably would scare the workers into never returning. Yet, if I took the time to go back inside, get dressed, put on makeup, and do whatever else it would take to make myself look human, the truck would be in the next county.

So I decided to compromise and go halfway. I dashed into the house, shoved on my bra and shoved in my teeth. Then I yanked the curlers out of my hair (along with half of my hair), ran a brush through the snarls and headed back outside. The truck was still sitting there.

My leg is still in a brace due to a torn ligament, so there I was, dragging two trash barrels behind me as I gimped toward the truck. While I struggled to cover the 400 feet as quickly as possible, I felt my hair flying outward on both sides as the cold, dry air attacked it with static. I imagined the guy in the truck wondering what on earth was coming toward him…a lame old witch?

An old joke crossed my mind as I continued to hobble toward the truck. In it, a lady is running after a garbage truck and shouting, “Wait! Do you have room for any more trash?” To which the driver responds, “Sure! Hop in!”

Finally, when I was about 15 feet from the truck, a guy jumped out and said, “Here, let me help you with that.”

He grabbed both barrels and dumped their contents into the truck as I tried to catch my breath and hide my naked, non-made-up face. I am so pale without makeup, my face actually becomes invisible against the snow.

“Are you OK?” the guy asked after he set the empty barrels down in front of me. The concerned expression on his face told me I probably didn’t look exactly glowing and radiant in the morning sun.

Before I could answer, he said, “Wait a minute, I have something for you. Let me get it.”

Puzzled, I watched as he climbed back into the truck. He returned holding a card. “It’s a discount card for prescription medication,” he explained, handing it to me. “You can save up to 60 percent on prescriptions at hundreds of area pharmacies.”

For once, I was momentarily speechless. I took the card and thanked him, then watched him drive off.

Later that day, when I told my husband what had happened, he burst out laughing. “The guy must have thought you looked pretty bad if he gave you a card for medication!”

There I was, thinking it was a really nice gesture, and my husband had to go and ruin it for me. He made me feel as if the guy in the truck had thought I looked so bad, I should have been out shopping for a headstone.

Next week, I’m going to wear a dress, high heels, makeup, earrings, control-top pantyhose, have my hair done, maybe get a facelift and then take out the trash…and I’m going to stand there until the truck comes.

No comments:

Post a Comment