Some doors you can’t even find. This short story that opens the way for other times and dimensions – or at least to a field in Pettigrew, Arkansas.
The Single Guy: The Garbage Man
- 7 min read -
So there I was… huddled down behind a barrel as a gunman stalked the streets shooting anyone that moved. While he was busy shooting, I leapt from my hiding place, raced into a building, and slammed the door behind me, hoping for protection from the madman.
BLAM! BLAM! BLAM! The gunman fired at the door.
“I KNOW YOU’RE IN THERE!”
I dove behind some furniture, peeked out through the window, and saw him approaching the door with the butt of his gun raised high.
BAM! BAM! BAM! He beat the gun against the door.
“What the hell are you doing in there? You got some kind of commercial business to generate all this trash!”
Okay…really I was hiding behind some furniture, but not from a gunman. I was hiding from my deranged angry rural garbage man.
You see, he had some sort of issue when I put out more than two cans of garbage. As soon as he pulled up with his truck, he’d jump out, and start cursing. This was the second time he had come to the door and I stayed hidden.
What he didn’t understand was my mother had passed away a few years earlier, and I had all her stuff stored in my garage. This included the unsorted accumulation of history from great-grandparents to that of me and my siblings.
That night, I was a little braver.
I was sitting at dinner with the stunningly beautiful and sexy “Cosmo Girl” and had hit it off well in person after weeks of online and phone conversation. She was even laughing at my worst jokes.
The conversation was smooth and flowing like the drinks. Have you ever noticed there is a tipping point in drinking? Besides the drinking and getting sick part, I mean the part where you become either; very funny, very horny, or very sad.
For the record, I was funny.
But “Cosmo Girl” got very sad. Her conversation had drifted off into all these stories about wrong decisions, missed opportunities, and failed relationships.
On the drive home, she dropped a bombshell on me.
“I really like you and enjoyed the night, but I don’t think it will work out. Nothing has for me lately and I’d rather stay friends and keep you in my life than screw it up and lose you,” she said, weeping.
I walked her to the door, gave her a hug, and watched her go inside. As I turned to go back to my car, I realized we all have garbage to deal with. Not just physical, but emotional. And sometimes, we just don’t have room in our ‘truck’ to deal with someone else’s garbage.
So how do you deal with your garbage and help people with theirs?
You have to go through it all, of course. Box by box. Experience by experience. Day by day. Soon, you’ll have a space cleared out in your garage and in your heart.
It might take a long time, or maybe it will only take a few months. It depends on how long you’ve been piling things up.
When it comes to getting rid of the garbage of an old relationship, a good rule is one year for every five you were with someone. It doesn’t mean you can’t have a great relationship right away, but you’ll still have a lot of garbage to clear out.
You don’t have to do it alone, either. Find people who have already cleared the clutter.
The next week, I had a HUGE pile of garbage.
This time, when the garbage man hopped out of his truck, fumes coming out of his ears, and stomping his way to my door, I simply stepped outside, handed him a cold bottle of soda, and said, “MAN! You look hot. Here’s a soda,” he looked at me confused.
“I’m SO sorry I’ve been generating so much trash. I’m trying to clear out all this stuff my mom left me when she passed away. Is there anything I can do to make this easier? Hire someone to make a big run?”
He looked at me for a moment, cracked the soda open, took a swig and said as his whole demeanor changed, “Oh don’t worry about it. Maybe if you can spread it out over a couple of weeks, if you don’t mind. Sometimes I’ve got to make more trips ‘cause of all the other people on the route,” he turned away looking at the pile of trash, “Sorry to hear about your mom.”
“Garbage Guy” always waved “Hi” after that and I never had to hide behind the couch again. I counted my blessings that I only had garbage from my past and not an entire route of other people’s garbage.
© 2009-2019 Eric Huber. The Single Guy is a work of fiction (even if the events seem familiar to everyone). All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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