This tale takes place on a day much like any other day when I wake up in a house that’s not my own from a drunken rager and instead of going back to sleep like the rest, I start straightening the place up. It usually starts with small things, like picking up the garbage from the floor and compiling the beer cans and bottles into a garbage bag. If I’m feeling particularly adventurous I may even make breakfast. Although oddly enough, that hardly ever goes well; most hungover people are cranky and intolerant of awesome food first thing in the morning so I don’t know why I waste my time but whatever. Alas, this particular tale isn’t about me and my endeavors entirely; it’s about how my actions affected another man’s life.
So like usual, I woke up at the crack of dawn with a skylight in my face and started cleaning up. No breakfast this time. The refrigerator and I haven’t been given the proper introduction as of yet so I didn’t want to intrude. I threw away all the random garbage that was laying around; collected the empty bottles and put them into the recycling bag in the closet.. The bag got pretty full so I took it outside where all three of the containers were lined up and ready to be picked up.. There really wasn’t much else to do. Figures I would end up partying with a bunch of neat and respectful people instead of pigs the one time that I end up waking up hours before everyone else. So I made a cup of tea, cuddled up on the couch with a body pillow and a blanket, and resorted to my good friend’s company – Netflix.
Eventually the rest of the raccoon eyed creatures started crawling out of their caves, yawning and stretching as they did so. A couple cups of tea later, we were all more or less on the same page. It was still pretty early in the AM when we were standing in the backyard discussing last night’s events and talking about projected goals for the day when I heard the dumpster truck coming a block or so away. So naturally, being the needy person that I am who needs constant recognition of the good deeds I do, I was like “Hey btw, I took the recycling out the front for you”… The look on this man’s face – It was as if I’d told him that I duct taped his puppy to the road and it’s about to get run over by a huge truck. He was all like “Noooo, I’ve been saving that bag for a whole week! I was going to hand it in and get money for it! How could you?! My life is over!” My initial reaction was like, ‘Alright calm down dude, it was one bag, I’ll give you the three dollars you would have MAYBE gotten out of it’. But then he explained his agony by stating that it’s not about the amount of money at all – it’s about the satisfaction of receiving any money at all as a reward for drinking alcohol. Naturally I sympathized; that actually makes sense. The truck was still a distance away so I suggested that we go look outside really quick; maybe they haven’t picked it up yet..
We all gather by the front door, and look outside. Against all odds, both the yard and garbage container are standing there with their lids wide open, which means their contents are long gone. The blue recycling container however is closed and the truck is only feet away! “There’s still hope!” he exclaims as he throws his hands up in the air and runs toward it as if his long lost love is about to get murdered. He lifts up the lid; stands there puzzled for half a second and proceeds to dig through it. We were slightly confused by the fact that he was standing in the middle of the street, head deep in the recycling bin instead of just taking the bag from the top and going back inside the house. Turns out, there was other stuff in it, but the white bag in question wasn’t. Still puzzled and distressed, he had no choice but to just stand there and watch the truck pick up the bin and throw it on-board.
It didn’t take us very long to figure out what happened. Some hobo probably saw me taking the bag out and jacked it the moment I went inside the house. It wasn’t a huge loss from where I was standing, but watching a man’s face change so fast and so frequently was priceless. He went from agony to hope, then confusion followed by despair in less than 45 seconds. I tried to comfort him, suggesting that I’ll help him gather a whole brand new bag with fresh recyclable beer cans and bottles; I even assured that it’ll be even better than the last, but he was too shaken up about this one to care. We’ll just have to give it time. I’m sure he’ll get back to his normal life-loving self eventually.