You know things are bad when they take away your garbage cans. There they were, sitting out on the curb that bright autumn morning, proudly doing their job of holding a week's worth of recycling and rubbish. Then they were gone.
It's true I've been lax paying the bill. Wouldn't you? It's bad enough having to pay for water, electricity and heating oil. Insurance is a con but we pay it. The pathetic internet service they call Mid-Hudson Cable, that we're always threatening to cancel. AT&T for our phones - their "Have you forgotten to pay your bill?" reminder call is sometimes the only actual phone call I receive all month.
But paying to have someone take the trash away feels so wrong. What exactly do the taxes around here pay for if the town can't provide this basic service? It's the bill I consistently avoid acknowledging, until they pile up and now - this. (Yeah, yeah direct debit. Does it hurt less, in lean months, to have an overdraft fee tacked on too? No, this is a game I play, that they'll get their money when I'm good and ready. It gives me the illusion of control. Until - this.)
Did the neighbors see the truck taking our cans away? Oh who cares, the last people who lived in this house installed an above-ground pool on a pile of their refuse - I'm still finding styrofoam chicken trays, clam shells and Diet Coke bottles in the yard. They blasted modern country radio through outdoor speakers and filled the front yard with inflatable Halloween crap. We'll never be that low.
I feel so judged. County Waste don't want us. And the cans we've filled and dragged dutifully every week, proclaiming cozy camaraderie with the neighbors and "we've got it together! we remember what day it is!" are gone.
We were determined to do it ourselves when we first moved in here. I was constantly crossing the Walmart parking lot with a small bag of garbage while the recycling piled up in the garage for an eventual outing to the dump that never seemed to come. The van became a traveling garbage can and we had to acknowledge the truth - that we're just not organized enough to deal with our own refuse.
Maybe some day. But in the meanwhile, I have to beg them to take us back. We promise to do better, just give us this one more chance!
PS They're back. I didn't hear a truck, just a scraping rolling sound and there they were. They'd even been cleaned. So that's a small victory, right?