Wednesday, May 17, 2006

dear garbageman

Dear Mr. Garbageman:

I received your note on my garbage can on Tuesday morning, and first, let me say that the vivid yellow color made me see this note just as easily as the one you left for me last Tuesday morning! What a welcome bit of color in the morning before I've had coffee! Second, thank you so very much for providing me the explanation of my transgression in both English and Spanish. It is so much easier to understand what the hell you're talking about in another language. At least, it didn't make any sense in English.

Let me explain, Mr. Garbageman, why I am writing to you. I bet you're beginning to wonder! For the past five years, I have lived at this address. I have diligently (ok, Mr. Bump has diligently) wheeled our trash can or cans (we have two!) out in front of our garage door in the alley. And for five years, one of your compatriots has just as diligently removed our trash and left our cans. Sometimes our trash is scattered down the alley. Sometimes our overturned trash can has rolled down the alley by the wind! But we always knew that you did your best, just as we had done our best to provide our trash to you in as clean and as dignified a manner as we could.

And now, suddenly, in the last two weeks, our steady week in, week out relationship has soured. What is our crime? What have we done to turn you against us so? Oh, yes. According to your canary-yellow note, our trash can is larger than 32 gallons. The shame! The horror! Our secret has been discovered. We have a 45 gallon trash can (we have two!).

My response to your asterisk and underline around the "32 gallon" trash can on your form is three fold.
  • First, I want you to know that these trash cans were a housewarming gift, from my mother-in-law. Do you have a mother-in-law, Mr. Garbageman? I know we have not previously been acquainted to this level of intimacy, but perhaps now is the time to get to know each other better. If you are going to make demands on my trash can, then perhaps we should. Anyway, as a gift--one of our first housewarming gifts, I might add--from my mother-in-law, I cannot possibly part with my garbage cans. She would be crushed if she saw that I had replaced them with a smaller, 32 gallon model. You don't want me to crush my mother-in-law like a used soda can, do you Mr. Garbageman?
  • Second, how does one go about getting rid of a trash can? It is barely used! I can't put it out for you to pick up, because it isn't "32 gallon" (asterisk, underline, underline). How do you give away a trash can? While it is barely used, it is used, and a trash can is one of those things that you can't really give away (like used underwear).
  • Third, because apparently your rampage regarding the "32 gallon" (asterisk, underline, underline) trash can is not limited to my household, THERE ARE NO 32 GALLON TRASH CANS TO BE FOUND! Not at Home Depot, not at Lowes, not at various Targets. I have not checked WalMart because, as we all know Mr. Garbageman, WalMart is operated by the devil himself. I have not yet checked Ace Hardware because I have been busy. But I'm sure there are none there either because, pardon me for saying this, but you are turning into a 32 gallon Nazi!
I know. That Nazi comment was probably a bit over the line. You're more like a 32 gallon fascisti. Oh, there I go again! I'm sorry, but I just don't see how we were all good and fine for five years, and suddenly you want me to find a new trash can and throw the old one out like garbage! I'm just not that kind of person, Mr. Garbageman. Look, I'm sure we can come to some kind of detante about the garbage can thing. How about I don't fill it all the way up, and you stop sending my trash can (in all its beautiful 45 gallon glory) notes home from school? Or I could cut off a bit at the top until it is shaved down to 32 gallons? How about I just write 32 gallons (asterisk, underline, underline) on my 45 gallon gal and we just "wink wink, nudge nudge" go with that?

I am open to any other suggestions you have except those that include the disposal of my currrent trash cans. Please leave me a note in any color other than canary yellow (how 'bout a nice cheerful cerise?) on my 45 gallon trash can, which I will continue to use until you stop taking my trash, and then I will just put my trash bags out in the alley. And we know what kind of "animals" that attracts.

I mean, really. Do you have a mother-in-law?

Best regards,

Mrs. Bump

P.S. There is really no reason for exclamation marks to be included in any kind of literature about garbage. Please, in future notices you attach to my upturned trash can, omit or at least pare down the quantity of exclamation marks. Thank you!

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