Home ownership is, for the most part, cool. So is Garbage Day.
It might sound weird, but I kinda like Garbage Day. First off, my anxiety surrounding all things Cleanliness is quelled as a week’s worth of detritus is purged from my bins. There’s also considerably more dog shit in said bins as there was before we owned a dog, so the quicker it can get to the end of my driveway, the better.
I remember watching an episode of Obsessed on the Discovery Channel, where they profiled people suffering from various types of OCD-related behavior and Anxiety. There was this one dude who refused to sleep in his bed, because he made it so perfectly that he didn’t want to disrupt it (to be fair, it was a perfectly-made bed). He also threw every piece of garbage directly into the dumpster, so nothing sat in his (in-house) garbage cans.
“Damn,” I said to myself while watching this guy tiptoe around his house, “this is exactly what I do.” I never watched Obsessed after that episode, but I still take most of my stuff straight to the dumpster instead of throwing it into the kitchen trash. It’s like, 10 feet away. It’s all good. Don’t worry about me.
The second reason I like Garbage Day is more ego-driven. Makes me feel good. I like dragging my garbage to the end of my driveway. It reminds me that I own a house, live in a cul-de-sac, and I’m living the American Dream to the best of my fiscal and intelligence-based abilities. It’s one of those little moments that remind me that I might be doing this Life thing right after all. I’m on the grid, homie! I pay city taxes!
One time I saw the garbage truck drive down my street, pick up each individual bin, and toss it entirely- bin and all– into the back of the truck. He collected every bin on the street, compacted them, and drove off. Must have been a new guy. I can only imagine the conversation when they got back to the dump. I laughed for nearly an hour straight. It was one of the most beautifully comedic examples of workplace incompetence I’ve ever seen.
Anyway, let’s get to the story, here. A few days ago, I had the day off of work, and I was sort of false-starting my way out of the bedroom. I knew I had to get up for some reason, but I kept forgetting and falling back asleep. Then I heard the garbage truck turn onto my block, and I realized that I hadn’t taken the bin out yet.
Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal. The Missus and I don’t generate that much trash over the course of a week, and if push came to shove, it could wait until next week. But not this week’s garbage.
It was a special blend of early-Spring Cleaning trash that contained no less than 10 pounds of dog feces collected from the lawn and deck following an early snow melt. It was unfathomably repugnant, and the mere thought of leaving it in my garage for another week was simply not an option. It would have probably violated the lease on my car. I knew that I had less than 30 seconds to get dressed, sprint downstairs, open the garage door and drag this bin to the street. I’d dump it into the back of the truck myself if I had to; anything to ensure that it was emptied today.
Important sidebar: I don’t have a set routine as to what I wear to bed. Sometimes I sleep in only boxer shorts. Sometimes pajama bottoms. I even wear socks if it’s cold enough. Once I wore a hoodie, and goddamn was that luxurious. Anyway, today I just had boxers and a t-shirt on, and with the garbage truck only a few houses away, I knew I didn’t have time to put anything else on.
This presented me with a quandary, specifically regarding the Social Contract between me and the fellow residents of the Wyndham Hills neighborhood in Sun Prairie. I’m not that kind of a neighbor. I’m extremely low-key. I’ve only ventured outside of the house twice in eight years wearing something other than jeans, and both times it was pajama bottoms in a bleary-eyed attempt to get the mail. And even that felt akin to treason for yours truly. There was no way in Hell that I was going to drag this bin to the curb in nothing but boxer shorts.
The truck was one house away. Son of a bitch.
There was no time for Social Contract. No time for shame, no time for modesty. I would deal with the repercussions later. For the time being, I had a dumpster full of feces that needed- beyond a shadow of a doubt- to vacate the premises post-haste. I was not proud of what I was about to do, but I knew that such sacrifices came with being a responsible homeowner and husband.
I bit down on my lip and started running for the door.
I skidded down the steps, slipped my shoes on in the garage while hitting the button for the door. Shoes, no socks, boxers and a ratty shirt. There was the truck; I was going to make it if I hurried. The bin was heavy; heavier than usual because of all the turds. I struggled and strained to get it onto its wheels to push it down the driveway. I stumbled around a bit, but I did what I needed to do. I got the bin to the end of the street in just enough time to watch it get emptied…and drag it directly back inside. It was touch-and-go, but I pulled it off and nobody was the wiser. I nailed it. I was proud.
Until I saw my neighbor. Standing in his driveway no more than a few feet from me, walking his dog. He saw the whole thing. I stood up straight, flattened down my hair and attempted to look presentable as I swaggered back into the garage. “Good morning,” I said with all the dignity of a man who looked like he just yanked out his IV and leapt out the window of a mental institution. He did not say hello back to me, instead turning away quickly and fleeing with his dog.
Jeez. I knew what I did wasn’t optimal, but I mean, it wasn’t that bad, right? Okay, so I was in my boxers, but big deal. I had a shirt on. And shoes! I was overthinking this; it’s not even in the Top 100 of egregious errors a neighbor can make. I think my unblemished eight years of quality neighboring would have allowed me a mulligan on the whole ordeal, right? I mean, surely I wasn’t the first person in history to hastily drag his garbage out while wearing night clothes, right? Right?
Then I looked down at my boxers.
And saw my penis.
It was out. It had been out the whole time.
Neighbor saw it. Neighbor’s dog saw it. When the garbage truck drove away, I gave the man a wave with my hand on my hip, quietly basking in the glory of a job well done. In reality, I was standing on the sidewalk of a residential area, exposing my batch like a lunatic to all passerby.
Home ownership is, for the most part, cool. But I’ll be laying low for a while, especially on Garbage Day.