Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Garbage Rules

I've been moving my dad from his home of 32 years into a condo. It was hard, hard work, and my dad is not the easiest person in the whole wide world to get along with.

The last day I was there, Dad and I argued about the garbage. It started when he said he'd worn out a pair of pajamas and needed to throw them away. "How do you throw away pajamas?" he said.

The problem is that he's used to having six (6) (SIX!) outside garbage cans, plus the two recycling bins. I'm guessing the reason one man had to have six garbage cans is that he's used to administrating lots of different departments at work, and he has been taking that mentality home. All these years he has had a bin for paper and a bin for cans, one garbage can for cardboard, another for yard waste, one for kitchen garbage, and three others for I-don't-know-what, but apparently one must have been for worn-out pajamas, because he was incredulous when I told him that worn-out pajamas now go into the trash can under his kitchen sink and eventually from there into his one (1) outside garbage can.

He argued with me that it cannot possibly be right to mix kitchen garbage with worn-out pajamas. Then he argued that he couldn't fill the kitchen trash can with worn-out pajamas because then there wouldn't be room for his kitchen garbage.

I said I'd tie the bag up and take it out to the outside garbage can.

But no, he argued, that wouldn't do at all because then the outside can would fill up, and he's only allowed one here.

I pointed out that the garbage can would hold three bags and only had one in it, that the garbage truck would be there the next morning, and that he didn't have to worry about not having enough room in the can since the two of us hadn't managed to fill it in a week so he wasn't likely to fill it by himself in a half-day.

He kept arguing and kept arguing, and I kept trying to explain Garbage Math, and finally he told me not to do anything with the worn-out pajamas because the woman who cleans for him would know what to do with them when she comes on Tuesday.

I'm only 53 years old and consequently don't understand garbage.

That was our last argument before I left, and the only big one of our last half-day together. Discounting the little skirmishes (like the one over which one of us was going to walk across the room, pull out the second drawer of the desk, and pick me out a birthday card), we averaged one garbage can-sized argument per half-day, which means we had approximately 32 of them.

And today when I started telling some friends this story, one of them said that Dad sounds just like me.


  1. Funny thing, as I was reading this story, I was thinking that very same thing...you must be like your dad :)

    1. AUGH! Why do people keep SAYING that?! Rats! AUGH!

      (I grew up reading Charlie Brown comics.)

  2. Worn out pajamas go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill...or whomever is in your neck of the woods...they will know what to do with them!


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