Why you should care
Despite what you hear, suburbia is not without its own special drama. Case in point: one man’s revenge-fueled garbage-collector battle.
For at least a month, I’d been finding my asshole garbage cans all the way at the end of my street every garbage day after collection. I knew it wasn’t the wind because the recycling containers were still on my lawn, as were the lids to the cans. I began to suspect foul play.
Turns out I was right. It was garbage day a few weeks later. I was in my garage futzing around as I heard the sound of the garbage truck stopping in front of my place. I peered out to get a look and saw a garbage collector — man in his 40s, a bit husky — emptying the trash from my two cans into the truck. When he was done he proceeded to hurl the cans by their handles as hard as he could down the street.
“Hey, man, what the hell?” I called out to him as I joined the party.
“Your cans are too far away from the curb. Should be 5 inches max. I’ve been leaving you a hint.” He tilted his head toward the AWOL containers and smiled.
Without warning, the garbage dude turned toward me and aggressively lobbed a punch.
“Oh,” I said, genuinely surprised. “I just thought you were being an asshole.”
Without warning, the garbage dude turned toward me and aggressively lobbed a punch. But he was slow, and I easily dodged it, then countered with a brisk push to his chest. He shuffled backward and tripped and fell over a recycling bin.
“Ha! Eat that, you fuck!”
The driver was out of the truck’s cab and in between me and his fallen comrade in the blink of an eye. They left without further incident, but I had a feeling this wasn’t over. And I was right. My cans got tossed every garbage day for the next two months.
I had to act.
I can’t exactly remember the thought process that led me to fill a garbage can with my own urine and put it out for collection/revenge, but it seemed like a great idea at the time.
Every day for three weeks, whenever I had to pee I’d run out to the garage and go in the garbage can. It took roughly three weeks and more beer drinking than usual, but by God I filled that can.
And so I lugged that pisstank carefully out to the curb. The thing was heavvvvvy. And phew — it fucking stank unholy. Collection was still a few days away, but I had to get the can out of the garage because you could smell it upstairs in the bedroom with the door closed.
I could barely sleep the night before garbage day.
I awoke at 5 a.m. and ran to the front window and peered out from the blind. The can was still there. At 7 a.m. the truck came around the corner and slowed to a stop in front of my place.
The worker who had tried to hit me emptied the first can into the truck, then hurled it down the street. He then grabbed the second can and pulled it toward him … but because of the weight he jerked forward and lost his footing. He tripped and fell onto the giant tub of pee. The lid popped off the can, and he landed on the ground. A giant wave of three-week-old piss poured out and soaked him.
He jumped up fast. Confused. You could see him sniffing and smelling like a dog. Then a realization hit.
He ran back to the truck and hopped in, and the truck took off. It didn’t stop at the next house, and it didn’t stop for any house. The truck just drove away, and fast.
Three days later the letter arrived by registered mail.
“Dear Hall residence … as we can no longer guarantee the health and safety of our sanitation workers at your property … due to a recent occurrence during a routine garbage collection … our board of member health and safety … your waste collection is therefore suspended until further notice.”
It was a miracle that I was home to receive the letter and not my wife. She had already noticed that the entire street had gone without collection for three days. “Why isn’t the garbage being picked up? It looks like hell out there.”
I phoned the city and got through to the Waste Management department. The lady on the phone told me that a manager was reviewing the case, and I would be informed by letter within 14 business days if my collection would be reinstated.
“IF? What am I supposed to do with my trash?”
“I don’t know … why don’t you piss on it?”
Oh. So it was like that.
Eventually I got the letter, and it was bad news: “… health and safety concerns … your weekly collection … suspended, effective immediately.”
No garbage collection for a year. Despite my appeals and apologies and outright begging, Waste Management Services could not be swayed. I had won a battle but lost the war.
And that’s how it came to be that every garbage day for a year, I’d lug out the trash to the curb to keep up appearances for Wifey. When she left for work, I’d pack all the shit in my SUV and drive it 45 minutes to the city dump.
And I thought walking to the end of the street to collect my cans was a pain in the ass.