I heart your garbage man

We are officially “on the map.” We’re real American citizens, thank you very much.

On Wednesday, I trundled down our rutted drive, where the gravel meets the road and a half dozen mailboxes sprout from a wedge of grass. On occasion, this is the scene:

1. our mailbox has been decapitated and its remains — a mangled piece of metal — lies dead in the ditch. If we’re lucky our bills and valucoupons litter the road, thanks to the latest drunk and/or distracted and/or cell phone talking or texting driver.

Option 2: there’s a half dozen rain-sodden yellow pages abandoned by each box. (Seriously, do we really need new phone books every 90 days? It’s not like we’ve got major retail turnover around here.)

But Wednesday it was neither phone books or mail box carnage that greeted me. Instead, my eyes gazed on the new and wonderful deliveries, shining like giant Easter eggs delivered by Godzilla bunny.

How did they get here? When did they arrive? And who could I thank for these wonderful gems? There was no note, no notification. Was I supposed to take just one, or could I nab two of these priceless gifts? A millions thoughts raced through my head.

Some people around here might have stumbled out their doors and gazed mystified at these objects of wonder. Perhaps they’d ask “Exactly what are these things? Why are they here?”

Personally, I needed no explanation. Thanks to a college education and my previous life in the burbs, I knew right away what we were dealing with. Some people like to call them…

…recycling bins.

Yes folks, it’s only taken 20 years for someone to realize that rural residents actually use products ensconced in glass and plastic. I know it sounds crazy, but on Saturdays, Pa and I hitch the team to the buggy and we amble to the general store in town where we pick up things like beverages, cleaning supplies, and sometimes even alke-hawl. And wouldn’t you know it? These goods are transported in glass and plastic vessels.

But up to this point, recycling options have been limited. To none. Except for the rusty green bins behind the gas station about 10 miles up the road. Which we have visited when we’re really hurting for entertainment.

But those days are over and I have to wonder, can municipal trash service be far behind?

Because right now, we don’t have that either. For the past 8 yrs, I’m pretty sure that we’ve paid the mob to cart away our refuse. They purport to be a real trash service but they use the term “service” loosely. A couple years ago I complained because they weren’t picking up our trash.

lady on phone: Yea?
me: Hi, our trash gets picked up on Wednesday but they missed our house yesterday. Again. What’s the deal?
lady: Well, sometimes the truck is full. They don’t have any more room.
me: So why don’t they pick it up the next day?
lady: They don’t come yer way the next day.
me: Yea but then we’ve got trash sitting by the road for a week. And no trash cans to use.
lady: And?

After that, I thought I’ll take my business elsewhere. But there’s no where else to take it. We live on a county line. Like right on it. I mean, when Martin and I are in bed, he’s in one county and i’m in another.

Ok, not quite like that. But our next door neighbor shares our driveway — and he lives in a different county. And all the trash trucks that come roaring by, and all the crews that camp out at the local market to grab a pack of smokes and leer at the pregnant looking not-pregnant chic behind the counter…. they’re licensed and bonded to work in the other county. Apparently Tony Soprano is the only gig in town for us.

Which is why he can charge us the equivalent of 3 30-packs of Coors Light each month in exchange for ignoring our trash cans.

Maybe one day we’ll be free of mob. In the meantime, we’ve got an extra recycling bin. And it looks an awful lot like a trash can to me….