Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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I'm talking trash

Talking trash by Robyn Welling @RobynHTV

I live in the suburbs. If you've ever lived in the 'burbs yourself, you know that one day each week is more important than all the others.

I'm talking about trash day.

All week long we collect our garbage, counting the hours until we can roll it out to the curb, like we're hoarding evidence of how slovenly we are for some disgusting neighborhood show-and-tell. We carefully curate multiple categories of recycling, eager for the bragging rights of having the most eco-friendly trash-to-recyclables ratio. We take it as a point of pride to master the pick-up schedule, and we time our streetside deposit with precision. One wrong move and you have to live with your old pizza boxes and discarded banana peels for another week - and find space for yet another week's refuse in the meantime.

So, as you can imagine, one of the most disturbing travesties to befall a suburban household is to forget to take the trash out on time or - gasp - to get skipped by the garbage truck completely.

Such was the scene at my house this week, when my husband peered out the front window and saw the familiar green trash bins still sitting in front of many homes - the one across the street, particularly, was positively overflowing with garbage (no bragging rights for YOU, good sir).

"Can you believe they skipped our whole street?" he fumed. I was coloring with our toddler as he articulated his disbelief. "How could they could miss an entire street? What's wrong with them?" and so on. After some furious pacing, he dialed their number.

"Yes, hello. I'm calling because your trucks neglected to pick up trash along our entire block . . . Wait, you'll put me on a list? . . . But you can't guarantee anyone will pick it up until next trash day? What am I paying you for, then? Because I thought I was paying you to pick up my trash . . . So I have to put up with the view of my neighbor's rotting pumpkins spilling over the top of his trash bin, potentially, for another WEEK?"

In his defense, their garbage was especially foul.

"Wait, what? My neighbor has to call you himself to get put on the list? But I'm looking right at his trash - I know it needs to be picked up! . . . How is it even remotely efficient to send a truck over to belatedly pick up my trash, then wait for my neighbor to leave you a message after he gets home from work, then send another truck out on a different day to pick up the trash across the street? . . . Mmm hmm. Okay, I understand that that's the policy, but it's a stupid policy."

He went on like that for a while, though (again) in his defense, he was very polite to the lady and reiterated several times that he knew it wasn't her fault, personally. After all, we've all been that poor soul getting paid minimum wage to answer the phone and field complaints about our bosses' stupid policies.

Still, missing trash day makes suburbanites grouchy.

After some back and forth and her insistence that there were no managers available for him to talk to, he gave up. "Yeah, fine, put me on the list," he grumbled, and gave her our address. After hanging up, he peered through the window at my mom's house next door and said, "Looks like your mom brought her bin in. I wonder why? I'll go ask her if she called, too - maybe she knows something I don't."

I continued coloring with Madeline, and after a few minutes I thought I heard the rumble of our trash bin being rolled back up the driveway. "What happened?" I asked when he came inside.

Sheepishly, he said, "They did pick up your mom's trash. So I checked our bin. . . and it's empty, too. I guess they didn't skip our street after all. Rotting Pumpkin Guy must've put his bin out late."

Several minutes later, Madeline was still asking, "Why you laughing, Mama?" but I couldn't catch my breath enough to answer.

"You'd better call that girl back and apologize," I finally managed.

"I already did," he said. "Well, sort of. She was at lunch, so I left her a message. . . and told her that I was so upset that I gave her the wrong address. I left her the address for the guy across the street."

Still. Laughing.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


shellthings said...

Oh no! That would totally be me, though.
Our recycling gets picked up on a different day than the rest of our trash and I often forget to set that out. And then I get embarrassed by setting out 3 weeks or so of recyclables. That adds up to a lot of bottles. ;)

Rebecca McCormick said...

OMG! I work for a trash company and used to work in customer service and this just cracks me up.

Christian at PCPPP said...

I'm quite impressed with they way your husband saved his dignity and helped out your neighbor all in one at the end there. He's my hero for this afternoon.

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

The bottles are always the worst part! Around here we have to save bottles and cans and return them for the deposit, which makes for a lot of uncomfortable shifting of the feet as people wait for you to put each. bottle. in. the. machine. individually. Gives you plenty of time to rethink your beverage choices. ;)

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

I PROMISE HE WAS NICE TO HER! And he actually went in later that day to meet her in person and apologize. Please tell me you used to get these calls all the time... ;)

Robyn of HollowTreeVentures said...

I was pretty impressed, too - he's quite the smooth operator. And yet our neighbors still don't like us... hmm...

rorybore said...

I'm just gonna focus on the awesome save your hubby made at the end.

I have a saying for my own hubby.. "it takes the trash bin to the curb, or it gets the spare bed...." ;)

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