You drive down a residential street. You turn a corner. You see a garbage truck blocking your way. Nooo! Why me?? It’s so unfair! While not quite as bad as your DVR breaking down or missing out on free birthday cake at work, it’s a rather annoying first world problem.

I hate trying to squeeze past those ginormous things; however, this might have more to do with my lack of spatial awareness than hating on those very nice guys – have you ever seen a garbage woman? me, neither – that weekly pick up after my wasteful self. I bang at least one elbow or knee or toe a day while trying to get from point A to point B in my apartment, and I still can’t figure out how to navigate streets without clear lines painted on them. In fact, I kind of freak out when someone else is closing in on me at a whopping fifteen miles per hour. How is this going to work? Are you going to pull to the side? Should I? I don’t know what to do. The worst was the first week that I drove my new car; I had no idea where it ended and the rest of the world began. Thus I was forced to park blocks away from home on completely deserted streets minus any other vehicles because I was temporarily parallel-parking impaired and couldn’t maneuver my new ride into even the biggest of open spots. Hence, my anxiety when confronted with garbage trucks. I don’t even fight it; thirty seconds and a quick U-turn later, I’m outta there.

So the other day, I decided to take advantage of the pleasant weather (and the realization that I was out of coffee) to walk to the nearby Starbucks for a little caffeine pick-me-up. A block later, I caught sight of that familiar monstrous shape and heard the screeching sound of compacting metal. Passing the truck, I was shocked to see a very perturbed woman – she even had the whole hands on hips thing going on – standing in the middle of the street about thirty feet away. “Look, there’s space over here! Why can’t you move so I can get through?” Seriously? Was this chick for real?

This woman had actually exited her still running car in order to berate the fellas who were quietly and efficiently taking away our human filth. I looked to the garbage men who appeared to be ignoring her unsolicited advice. Seemed like this wasn’t the first time they’d encountered such ridiculous entitlement. I then turned back to the woman who again shouted, “Can you please move over? I need to get through.” It was all very Falling Down. I also noticed that two more cars were now blocked behind her shiny black Mercedes as she continued to complain.

Okay, I get it. Like I said, it’s a wee bit bothersome when a garbage truck obstructs the way to whatever very important place this woman was obviously going. But to get out of one’s car and admonish these men for doing their job? That’s straight up whack. Not only was this chick causing more of a backup than the garbage truck, but also who exactly did she think she was? Unless this woman was running late to perform a heart transplant or feed the poor, I’m thinkin’ that whatever she needed to do was far less important than what they were doing. Rather, she was probably on her way to some very nice shop on Rodeo Drive, and though I concede that she would be contributing to our local economy, I would forego her dollars for a trash free neighborhood any day. And might I add, these men are doing something that very few of us find appealing. Maybe I’m in the minority here, but whisking away others’ waste never made my list of future dreams when I was a kid. So the next time you see a garbage man, give him a hug.

Eventually my caffeine addiction called and I went on my way, craning my neck to see how this would all play out. While Whack Job held her ground and continued to stare down the garbage men, one of whom I swear cracked a smile, I then noticed a guy in the car behind her exiting his own vehicle… “Ma’am, could you please move your car?”

Karma is sweet.

Image: farconville / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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