I take garbage men for granted.
You put your garbage out in front of your house and they come and take it away. You never see it again. This is a wonderful thing. And I'll never take them for granted again.
We had trash. Lots of it. And not everything could be recycled, composted, or burned. We had real, solid, smelly, dirty trash and I wanted to throw it out.
I circled the house looking for the trash can. I didn't see one. I looked in the garage, in the back yard, at the side of the house. Nothing.
I went to the foot of my driveway and peeked in bushes and poked around trees. Again. Nothing. No trash can.
So I e-mailed my landlord.
"Hi ____. This is Sarah, your tenant in Woodstock. I'm just wondering...where's the trash can? You know the big one outside. So sorry to bug you with something so stupid. I just can't find it. I'm sure it's under my nose. E-mail me back. Thanks."
I got an e-mail later that day.
"Hi Sarah. We don't have trash service. You need to take the trash to the dump. Everything you need to know is in the "Welcome Book" on the coffee table."
I e-mailed him again.
"...You don't have trash service?"
He e-mailed me back...again.
"No. We take it with us when we go back to the city."
I typed again..."In your car?"
He sent back: "Yes. In our car."
Me: "The trash?
Him: "The trash."
Me: "Goes in your car?" At this point I feel fairly confident he was thinking I was indeed the idiot he originally pegged me for.
"Yes. It does. In your car. I hear there's a dump in Saugerties that's cheap. Here's the information..." and he gave me the phone number and address.
I was so confused. I tried to wrap my mind around this concept. NO trash service. No truck. No friendly men picking up cans of dirty diapers and discarded chinese food and taking it away so I never have to think about it again. I need to put my trash in MY car...and I need to PAY someone to take it????!!!!
What kind of place is this????!!!!
So I put the kids, and the trash in the car and went searching for the dump. 30 minutes later (yes...it was that far) we arrived at the address my landlord gave me. Town Hall in Saugerties
They did not have a dump. In fact, they had HUGE signs on their own cans saying "DUMPING PERSONAL TRASH HERE IS ILLEGAL. WE PROSECUTE." I'm looking at my wet, stinky white trash bag thinking...seriously? Can't you just take this? Don't you understand? I'm from LA. I don't touch my trash."
They told me the dump was back in the OTHER direction. The direction from which I had just come.
They couldn't be more specific though. They said it was about a mile past the Emergency Vet Service place on RT 212. That's the kind of directions you get here. "It's across the street from the junk yard." or "it's near the fruit stand," or "It's near that farm with the black cows. No. Not that one...the one with the two other cows that are brown. You can't miss it. If you hit Woodstock, you've gone too far."
So we piled back into our every increasingly stinky car and tried to find the dump near the Vet place on Route 212.
We hit Woodstock.
So we had to turn around and try the other direction again. We made it as far as the Vet place. Obviously, about a mile overshot again. So I got out at the VET and went inside to ask "Where is the dump, exactly?!". I tried to get the attention of the nurse behind the counter while a VERY large doberman pincher smelled me enthusiastically. I had no doubt I smelled delicious.
When she got off the phone, she told me to look for a long asphalt driveway on the left. Near the Car repair place. It's RIGHT before that.
So back in the car I went and we drove - to the car repair place. Too far again. So we turned around and went back in the other direction...again.
There HAD to be a big asphalt driveway somewhere - they said I couldn't miss it. Obviously, they underestimated me.
This was like one of those high-intensity, serious ping-pong games where the players start far apart and get closer and closer as they ping the plastic ball faster and faster between them as the suspense builds. But the only thing building in my car was the smell of old pork dumplings.
FINALLY I saw an asphalt drive that COULD be the dump and I turned. It was marked "Transfer Station" further up the road. There was NO way to see that sign from the highway. Are these people hawks?
It didn't matter. I'd found the dump.
I felt like a pilgrim who had finally reached Mecca! I swear, the trash bins beyond the entry kiosk glowed.
The woman in the kiosk said I had to buy a YEAR long pass and pay a PER trash bag fee before they directed me to the holy grail of trash bins. So I did. What else was I going to do?
When I get home to LA, I'm buying my garbage man a present.
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