All I wanted to do was put the trash and recycling out. This hasn’t been the easiest thing for me to do since the accident five years ago. For those of you who don’t know about my accident, five years ago, a drunk driver rear-ended me at 50 miles an hour leaving me with a permanent spinal injury causing daily pain that radiates from my neck through my shoulders and arms ending in alternating tingling and numbness in my hands.
Therefore, the lifting, pulling, carrying, turning things upside down, dumping things out, generally holding anything relatively heavy in general required for putting out trash and recycling are not the easiest things to do. So much so, in fact, that for several years I tried to avoid putting the trash out at all.
I would wait until someone came over and then casually say: “Oh, hey, it’s trash day. Do you mind helping me put the trash out? That way, you know, we can get on with whatever we had planned to do quicker.” But sometimes it would be weeks before somebody else was around on the right day. With the trash it wasn’t so bad since that gets picked up twice a week. But with the recycling, which is only picked up every other Saturday morning, it could be a little tricky. There were times when my recycling would pile up for months. I tried several times to get whatever civic service organization it is that’s in charge of those things to bring me extra crates so I would have somewhere to put it all. But apparently those requests go into some dead email office and nobody ever responds to them. (Much like all of those letters I wrote to Santa asking for Vespa and an Emma Peal jumpsuit and matching boots for Christmas from ages 5 to 13.)
When I couldn’t get any extra recycling bins through the proper channels, I even thought about stealing other people’s crates after they’d been emptied, but were still sitting on the street on a Saturday morning. But a voice inside me told me not to give anyone else any reason not to recycle. And since I know first hand how difficult it is to get more recycling crates delivered, I didn’t want to put any of my neighbors through that annoying process. Gee, I am such a nice person.
Anyway, I have since learned not to leave the trash and – especially not – the recycling too long and no matter how much pain I’m in, I force myself to go through the process of collecting it from around the house and getting it out to the street. This is what I was doing yesterday when I suddenly found myself in the midst of a cinematic series of physical comedy gags.
First, I went to the cupboard where I keep the garbage bags and bent over to pull one out the box. Except that they came out one after another after another after another, like a magician’s scarf trick, but when I tried to pull just one out of the knot of bags, I compensated for my numb hands with too much force and ended up banging my head on the shelf above the garbage bags. Ouch.
Rubbing my head with my right hand, and with the garbage bag in my left hand, I went to the bathroom to empty the trash. On the way there, because of the numbness in my left fingers, I dropped the bag on the floor. When I tried to pick it up with my equally numb right fingers, a kitten jumped on the end of the bag and started chewing on it. I tugged the garbage bag out of the playful kitten jaw and continued on to the bathroom.
Reaching for the first trash can, my numb right hand dropped it. So, the previously thrown away items were all over the floor and needed to be picked up one-by-one and put in the garbage bag. This was annoying and only made worse by the two kittens – count them two – who had arrived and thought I had dropped a pile of germ-filled toys for them; used q-tips, Kleenex, cotton balls, etc. were being knocked across the tile floor with purring enthusiasm as I tried to grab them and put them in the big garbage bag.
Once the contents of the first trash can were successfully picked up, I moved on to the second bathroom. Reaching for the second trash can, the pain in my back came on like a stabbing knife, I squealed, lost my balance, slipped on the floor, fell to my knees, ripped my pants and knocked over the trash. Since I was already on the floor, it made it slightly easier to pick up each newly fallen piece of trash. But, of course, the kittens had followed me and were thrilled to find that we were once again playing the “bat trash across the floor” game – and so soon after the first successful game! They are hoping this will become a regular thing. I, of course, am not.
Once I finally had the bathroom trash collected, I slowly got to my feet and forced myself to move on to getting the trash from the kitchen and the office. Gladly, this was done without any additional incident. I got everything collected and carried it out to the garage, dropped it in the big trash can and rolled it down the driveway to the sidewalk.
Of course, it wasn’t until I turned around to walk back inside that I remembered about my ripped pants and realized that my next-door neighbors who were outside working on their car, had a perfect view of my black floral underwear.
Maybe I will go back to asking friends to help me put out the garbage.