–Our calendars can be full of events from day to day, but there is one that stops us all in our tracks; Garbage Day.
–I have headed off to work and realized that the whole street had neatly and responsibly put out their trash on the appropriate day. And I had forgotten. I thought that I saw everyone glaring at me while posing in front of their garbage bags. They were wearing choir robes, had halos above and sang, “Naughty, Naughty,” as I left.
–I wanted to sing, “Forgot, Forgot,” but didn’t know the words. So I just drove away as the neighborhood’s most unpopular garbage hag to date. But next week, they’ll be smiling and approving, maybe singing a different tune.
–Then a friend was visiting last week from two hours away and realized that he had to turn around and go back to put out his trash. Apparently, the choir with halos had gathered on his street to sing, “Fie Upon You,” with all the appropriate lyrics to ostracize a gallivanting neighbor who had the nerve to forget his garbage day.
–It’s not the most interesting recurring event, but no less vital, especially if you don’t want glares and “Naughty, Naughty” songs on the street. When I first moved to the neighborhood the garbage rules were lax, if not downright festive. Those were the days when we sang, “Anything Goes.” We danced our stuff to the curb, sang “Good Riddance,” and life went on without further ado. Any number of bags, any objects, even a stray old couch or two was fair game for that magic pick-up day.
–I once threw out a giant stuffed purple tiger belonging to my young son. It had been mauled to death and was ready to move on. Later that garbage day, the truck was seen on the street with this regal purple thing at the helm, a trophy for the trash man, for sure. He probably sang, “Surprise, Surprise!” to his young son that night.
–In those days, the garbage cast of characters included some other enterprising collectors that cruised neighborhoods looking for the goods. They sang, “One Man’s Trash is Another’s Treasure.” I practically saw a fist fight at the curb one day after I grew tired of a bulky, ungainly table that needed a lifelong effort to strip, sand and finish. They sang, “Me First, You Scoundrel,” (I think; maybe I am mixing up the fist fight with the “Naughty, Naughty” choir).
–Trash times are changing, however, and we’re singing a different tune. “The Color of Green,” is our new song. It may not be a hit tune, but here to stay. On the eve of a rules change, the conversation lyrics at a local restaurant reached a high pitch. A waiter observed, “Yup, they’re singing trash over dinner.”
–But it does complicate garbage day on the calendar. I usually note the day and circle it as a priority. If I am distracted and forget, the sound of the truck brakes squeaking on the street is most off-key. I once raced to the curb at five a.m. to personally give my gifted wrapped-cat litter to the collector. He didn’t want to hear my “Sorry” song at that hour.
–Furthermore, a math calculator is necessary to determine the exact number of bags as well as a secretary’s file about various objects. The “Naughty, Naughty” chorus usually convenes at my recycling bin to glare at the number of wine bottles clanking around. “Shut Up!” I want to sing that some of the clanking is due to pickle jars.