Friday, June 6, 2008

Keeping it all in perspective

It’s Friday. That means garbage pick-up.

It sounds simple enough…but it’s not. We live on a relatively small street that shrinks to a single skinny lane before rolling downhill steeply and turning on a sharp, very square little bend. Our street is also located on the very edge of our township. That means, in most cases, that we are serviced absolutely first or absolutely last.

Our mail? We get it last. Our garbage? The giant vehicles break the dawn to come pick up our refuse and recyclables.

And because the road is so slim at its end point and has that sharp bend, the trucks cannot drive straight through our neighborhood and out the other side; they must treat it as if it were a dead end. Which means that either the trip down or the trip back up must happen with the trucks traveling backwards.

Have you heard these trucks back up? Just like every other huge service truck, they beep, loudly and obnoxiously, for the entire time they’re moving in reverse.

None of this would matter nearly as much if I didn’t have a preschooler who sleeps lighter than a hungry housecat. It would also matter significantly less if that kid were a lazy kid instead of a spry, energetic little sprite who detests rest of all kinds, at all times, and seeks any diversion to rise from his bed.

The boy is having a nightmare in the early semi-darkness: “Mama, no Mama, I don’t want to go outside.” (Do I force my kid outside? Sometimes. Don’t you? Do yours have nightmares about it?)

I wait a bit, but when it continues I scurry over and pat the child, attempting to soothe him in his half-awake state. “You don’t have to go outside, Honey. It’s okay.” Murmur, murmur, pat, pat.

He begins to breathe deeply, taking in air with his typical snuffly little inhalations. I’m thinking that we’re home free, it’ll be okay. And then.

BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. Oh, man. And to make matters worse, the recycle truck has shown up first for duty. Therefore, the beeps are punctuated by the repeated sounds of glass and metal being dumped into the side of a large metal bin aside the truck. A festival of clinks and clanks, to say the least. Not a lot of plastic in today’s offerings, from the sound of things.

The boy is awake again, tossing, turning, groaning. I repeat the patting and soothing, murmur some more, and he’s almost sleeping again. Maybe this’ll work.

And then, more beeping. I peek out the window. Oh gee. Here come the garbage men.

I give up. It’ll be an early day here, for everyone. But that’s okay, because all things considered, I’m pretty rich and blessed even at this hour: I have a sweet kid to soothe, he’s in his own room in our home, we have people to come pick up our smelly garbage and take it away, we have garbage for them to take because we actually have the luxury of being able to throw things away… And it’s a lovely morning, the coolest, most comfortable time of a hot day like the one that’s brewing.

Have fun counting your blessings.

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