Because Taylor and I are leaving for our vacation next week, I wasn’t going to see him this weekend. Save the gas, we thought, but that’s before we realized that the Oregon State Fair was happening.
There’s funnel cake to be had.
So now Taylor’s coming over tonight, and in preparation, I decided to spend last night picking the place up a bit. It’s not so much that I’m a slob. It’s just that I have better things to do than my laundry. There are episodes of Mystery Science Theater 3000 to watch, and books to read. I have a lot of thinking about cartoons to do, you guys. Those zombies ain’t gonna draw themselves.
You see that I have a very tight schedule to keep, and mopping the kitchen floor doesn’t really fit in with all of the important tasks I have to accomplish.
For the last three or four days, though, I have noticed a problem developing.
The trash has begun to stink.
For some reason, it doesn’t really bug me that much to have gross stinky trash, so long as I’m living alone. I have a high tolerance for disgusting things. The gradually evolving odor of my trash can was less of a crisis and more of an experiment. In the morning, possibly, it would smell sort of eggy, with undertones of old fruit. When I came home for my lunch hour, it may have progressed into a rich meaty travesty that I could smell all the way in the back office. In the evening, the smell might have abated, only to be rekindled when I clicked open the trash can lid to drop something in.
By the way, we non-slobs have a really particular way of opening the trash can. We know the true horrors that might lie within those depths, so there’s a ninja-esque skill associated with whisking the lid open, disposing of whatever you need to, and shutting the dang thing again before any air particles have the opportunity to escape. I am an expert at this. My pop-and-drop is the stuff of legends, and because of my talents, I rarely have to deal with full on trash-smell.
So after several days of complex grossness wafting throughout the apartment, I decided that I wasn’t going to subject Taylor to that particular bouquet. I looked around to see what I could throw away before I took the trash out, found a lone paper towel, and popped the lid open.
I kid you not, the rank odor of shit – pure, unadulterated shit, sprang out of the trash can and punched me in the face.
Reeling, I evacuated. That is the second time this week that I’ve been chased out of my kitchen. I obviously need to reevaluate my life.
I opened the front door and gulped a single breath of fresh air. I wasn’t going to defeated by a bag of trash. I had gotten home from a hard day at work. I had discovered three more premature grey hairs that morning. I had whanged my shin coming around a corner, gained five pounds, and found a juicy black spider reposing cheekily under my pillow while looking for my cellphone, not to mention the countless baby spiders I had been chasing around the house since they burst out of the light fixture in the kitchen.
“Today,” I announced out the front door, “is not a good day to fuck with me.”
Holding my breath, I stalked back into the kitchen, yanked the bag out of the trash can and tied it with a vigor that is usually associated with violent murder. I opened the back door with a bang and started power-walking towards the bins on the other side of the complex. The bag was heavy. I could feel the hard plastic strings cutting into my fingers, but I wasn’t going to stop. Even when I tripped heavily over a bike that somebody had left on the walkway, I kept going.
And then, in slow motion, in black-and-white film with Mozart playing in the background, I suddenly realized that something had poked a tiny hole in the side of the bag. The hole expanded like a star going super nova, and vile trash tumbled out onto the path with a sickening SPLUKKKK.
I stood, holding a half-full bag of trash with a little pile of chicken containers and toast ends at my feet.
My eyes welled up. If I stood there for too long, I realized, I was going to burst into tears. So much for “don’t fuck with me”.
Suddenly, from around the corner burst three of the neighbor’s dogs, charging towards me with Gross Dog Radar, mouths openly careening towards the trash on the ground.
“DOGS! NO!” I shouted. “DON’T EAT THAT IT WILL KILL YOU. THESE ARE TERRIBLE DOG KILLING THINGS THAT YOU SHOULD NOT EAT. GO AWAY. DON’T EAT THIS.”
With super human speed, I wedged myself between the dogs and their bounty and began scooping trash into the hole of the bag with my bare hands. Very little of it was sticky, I realized pleasantly. I probably wouldn’t even get trash-herpes, or whatever you get from handling three week old nacho bits. With a single fluid motion, I gathered up the last bits of trash, picked up the bag at both ends, and bolted towards the bins. They were just in sight. The dogs were following closely, hopeful, waiting.
“Oh, no you don’t, dogs,” I said to them as I hucked the bag over the edge of the bin.
There was a brief moment where I imagined the universe rejecting my success. I pictured the bag stopping in midair, turning around and flying back at me, or maybe just hanging suspended slightly over the bin opening, unreachable, refusing to go in. Maybe it would just explode, covering me and the happy, happy dogs with unidentifiable things that have been condemned by science and religion. I squeezed my eyes shut in that brief moment, waiting for something terrible to happen.
It didn’t. The bag hit the bottom of the bin with a thud, and the dogs, disappointed, turned and meandered away. I stood, waiting for the universe’s rebuttal.
There was none.
Life’s little victories, you guys. Sometimes things go your way, even for the briefest moments, and that’s something to celebrate.