I have a complex relationship with our garbage guys. It's made complicated because I make the whole thing up. I spy on them from the kitchen window and try to decide if they're pissed at me. Sometimes I'm sure they are because they throw the garbage can lids instead of placing them snuggly back on. Sometimes I'm sure they are because I filled an entire can with dog poop picked up after the spring thaw. I read their body language, filter it through my own insecurities on that given Wednesday, and determine the state of our relationship.
Sometimes I've done nothing wrong garbage-wise in a long time but the can-lifter is still gruff in his movements. On those days I figure he's still mad from the overfilled can a few months ago. Other times I forget to put the cans out at all and just the revving rumble of their truck is enough to convince me they think I'm a flake. In other words I make it all up and it's never pretty, always a fabricated projection of an unfriendly self view.
Last night I sunk into bed like I always do, with a huge smile at the deliciousness of it. I love bed! But it was super late and when I remembered the full garbage cans not yet curbside there was just no way I was going to get up. Then this morning I heard the rumble, pictured myself running barefoot and braless through the snow to flag them down with my tardy cans and I just couldn't abide the image. But lo! The truck turned! They weren't ready for my block yet! I scrambled, slipping on boots and a puffy coat. The snow today is Rockwell-esque and a friendly neighbor had shoveled our walk. With the cans headed to the curb on time things were looking good!
Then I decided to push things. I realized the truck was just doing the neighboring alley. I calculated six homes max and that didn't leave much time for my plan. I dashed inside threw off the snowy boots and then raced like a madwoman for the plate of gingerbread cookies, the wrapping paper, the ribbon. I was a flurry of Yuletide panic. But I made it! Our cans sat curbside, delicately dusted with snow, and adorned with an adorable, personally addressed bundle of goodies for the garbage guys. I heard the truck! There was no way I would be left standing there, perhaps even interacting with these guys. Too shy! Too many made up stories in which I am the unlikeable flaky homeowner that fills entire cans with dog poop!
I ducked inside in the nick of time. I stood furtively at the window holding my breath, watching as one guy approached the colorful package.
The guy gave almost zero response. He held the thing by the string, dangling from his giant gloved mitt, and delivered it to the driver. He dumped our cans. He replaced the cans. They rumbled off.
My insecure mind started to churn. After all, years ago I gave them twenty bucks. Cookies probably aren't considered as good as cold cash. Sigh. The driver didn't even start to nibble. Maybe they hate me.
Then I started to giggle. I had had so much fun dashing and wrapping and beating the clock! These guys are doing their job, of course they're going to keep dumping and driving. And really, they had no idea I was lurking to the side of the window spying on them and hoping for a christmas-morning-like delight. So silly. The fact is I have absolutely nothing to go on. Nothing at all. And like every other situation in my life I have the power to either tell a story that feels good, thereby creating more goodness in my life, or a story that increases antagonism, pain, and insecurity, thereby bringing more of that into my life.
So the story is that I gave the garbage men a Yuletide present and they were so surprised! They tucked their gingerbread men into the cab and are saving them for their coffee break. They love this time of year, finding little gifts along their route. They feel loved and cared for. And I feel marvelous too. I pulled it off! I thought the cans wouldn't even make it to the curb and we'd have to find ways to stuff next week's garbage into already-full cans. But instead I made it on time, and BONUS got to give a little gift as well.