by Karen Frazier, Managing Editor
Paranormal Underground Magazine
I’m trying to be more zen. I’m trying to be calmer and get less riled up about things. I’m trying to find the good in people – even people who tick me off. But, of course, the universe has a sense of humor. It will not allow me to go gently into the good night.
What is about to follow is a rant of epic proportions that is explaining the latest challenge to my new attitude. Who knew it could come crumbling down from something so simple. You see, we have a garbage can problem.
It all began a few months ago. Our garbage was always part of a city contract. When we paid our water bill and our sewer bill, we also paid our garbage bill. Then the city got sneaky. They found a way to make more money. How? By keeping the amount of the utility bill exactly the same, but farming out our garbage pick up to a third party company, who then began charging us for garbage pickup. Voila – the city makes more money, we pay more money. But that’s not even the issue. That’s just a side note.
When the new company – LeMay Enterprises – took over, they dumped off a bunch of garbage cans where the garbage is picked up. In my neighborhood, this is a spot 1/4 mile down the hill from us where five or six other homes also drop off their garbage.
By the time Jim and I got home that day, there was only one can left. We grabbed it but we knew there was something wrong. Why? Because we were paying for a big can, and we only got a small can. We immediately called LeMay and asked that they fix this. They did – they brought us a new, big can. Unfortunately, they failed to note that they had given us a new, big can, or that one of our neighbors who was paying for a small can also had a big can.
With me so far?
Fast forward to two weeks ago. As I was driving up the hill on garbage day, I noticed that one can hadn’t been picked up. Guess whose it was? Yep. Ours. We dutifully called the LeMay, who said, “oh there is no reason why your garbage shouldn’t have been picked up. We’ll send someone out.”
Well duh – of course there was no reason. Our bill was paid. Our garbage was within regulations. Little did we know the whole little can/big can issue was about to come back and bite us in the behind.
As I drove up the hill on Monday – garbage day – this week, I once again noticed that our garbage had been missed. With my new attitude of Zen, I calmly called LeMay and spoke with Becky, who seems to be a bit listening impaired. More on that in a minute.
I explained to Becky that our garbage had once again been missed, and I suggested that perhaps one of our neighbors hadn’t paid their garbage bill and we’d paid the price. Becky agreed that could be an issue and put me on hold while she radioed the garbage driver for our neighborhood.
When she came back, Becky informed me that the reason the sanitation engineer hadn’t picked up our garbage was because our neighborhood had too many big cans. Well yes, I told Becky, that is certainly true. Here’s why – because someone stole our big can, you gave us a new big can and you never bothered to figure out who might be paying for a little can but getting a big can.
The solution was simple according to Becky. All we had to do was put a piece of duct tape on our can. They’d know to pick up OUR garbage and leave someone else’s. In the meantime, the nice garbage truck driver would come back and pick up our garbage. Ahhhhh….easy solution. No worries.
An hour later, Jim drove up the hill and said, “Well they picked up our garbage. Unfortunately, they took our can, too.”
This was not what we had discussed. I called Becky back.
“Well of course we picked up your can,” Becky said. “There were too many cans.”
“Yes,” I calmly told her. “But the too many cans isn’t our can – it is someone else’s. Perhaps you should have taken THEIR can.”
“Well how would we know whose can that was?” Becky asked me. “All you need to do is figure out which of your neighbors has an extra can, and then you can take theirs.”
Suddenly, a picture of Jim and I dressed in all black and crawling through the neighborhood at night as a garbage can commando on a top secret garbage can mission came to my mind. While I love the thought of myself as a super secret garbage can commando, I just couldn’t see sneaking around to my neighbors’ homes to find the offending extra can. I told Becky so.
“Well how are we supposed to know who has an extra can then?” Becky asked me.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I calmly (sort of) asked to speak to Becky’s supervisor.
When Nicole came on the line, I launched once again into my whole sordid garbage can story, including the images of Jim and I on our secret garbage can commando mission. Nicole was not amused. Or she didn’t sound amused. I must admit – an edge may have entered my voice by this point.
Finally in total frustration I asked Nicole, “How on earth is it my problem that WE paid for a big garbage can, you didn’t control the delivery of the cans, you didn’t note when you delivered us a new garbage can, you discovered too many extra garbage cans and now you are expecting us to sort out your problem for you. How do you figure this is okay?”
There was a long silence. I am guessing that eye rolling was involved on both ends of the phone. Finally, however, a solution. Yet ANOTHER large can is going to be delivered. We are to immediately put duct tape on it. That way the driver will know next week to ignore a neighbor’s garbage can. Then that neighbor, too, can be given the opportunity to go on a super secret commando garbage mission around the neighborhood. We’re all going to become distrustful garbage spies until the can without duct tape is revealed as the garbage can thief.
So you see – my zen isn’t working well today. I’m trying though. I’m breathing. I’m trying to find the humor in the situation. And I am seriously considering the commando mission – if for no other reason than to preserve the zen of my neighbors who will find themselves in the same situation as us in just a few short days.
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