Like a good girl who wants her recyclables taken away, I abandoned the idea of wearing shoes in the 30 degree weather in favor of getting my bin out of the house, and ran down from my third floor apartment barefoot, with no keys and soaking wet hair so that I would not be inconveniencing you by making you wait for me. I was just opening the front door as you pulled away from my house to pick up the recycling bin left on the curb of the person next door. I yelled—loudly, but politely—for you to please stop for me, so that you could possible ease my burden and stopping for 30 seconds so that I could maybe empty my load of recyclables into your truck. Apparently, you didn’t hear me, because when I was about 5 feet away from you, you jumped back into your truck and drove it another 40 feet forward to the next house with a bin in front.
Now, although I had been running barefoot, with soaking wet hair, in 30 degree weather, I was not mad yet. It’s possible that you didn’t hear me, and besides, I saw that the next three decker you stopped at has several bins in front, and may signal my opportunity to catch up with you. So I step up my pace and even though I’m a little winded because now I’m at least ten houses away from my own, I see an end in sight.
I was about eight feet away from you when you dumped the contents of that last bin into your truck. “Excuse me!” I yelled. “Hold on! Wait a second!” I even flashed a smile in appreciation of you pausing for a brief moment to take care of my tardy problem. Perhaps it was the sight of such a disheveled young girl, freezing and in pain because of all that leftover city of Worcester sand that stuck to the sidewalks and thus the soles of my bare feet, or maybe you were having a bad day and wanted to pass the karma along, or maybe your father used to beat you or your mother was a drunk and my presence gave you flashbacks. All I know is, my morning was confirmed as ruined the moment you looked into my sad eyes, considered the heavy recycling bin I had just been running with for at least 100 yards with bare feet and wet hair, and decided to get in your truck and drive away to the next set of bins all the way at the bottom of the hill.
I must admit, I was upset. I dropped the recycling bin; I gave you the finger; I swore more loudly that I should have at such an early hour, not only because my feet were burning but because I now had to lug the heavy and still full recycling bin all the way back up the hill, up three flights of stairs, and back into my shabby little apartment. Only, I couldn’t get in because although I had left the front door open, expecting at the most a short trot a distance of about 10 feet to catch up with you, the girl who lives downstairs shut and locked it on her way to work. So instead of using the front door, I had to—still barefoot-- negotiate my way through the last remaining snow bank and up four flights of rickety stairs on the back porch in order to break in to my own apartment. It was only after I angrily threw the recycling bin back into its little corner in my kitchen that I happened to look up and realize that this painful little diversion had cost me precious minutes that I needed to get ready and get to work on time.
So thanks, asshole in the recycling truck, for not picking up my stuff. Thanks for making my feet burn, my arms sore, and my pride bruise. Thanks for that cute little half smile you gave me as you drove away—that investment your parents made in your orthodontia was certainly a good decision. And thanks for making me ten minutes late to work, so that I got yelled at by my boss and asked repeatedly why I was limping (it was the city salt and sand, in case there was any doubt in your mind.)
But most importantly, thank you for your extreme care and compassion. I hope you have a happy fucking Valentine’s day, asshole!