My Garbage is Another Man’s Garbage

If you know me, you are aware I don’t like stuff. In particular I don’t like piles of papers – although putting random bills, junk mail, statements, receipts, catalogs, and holiday cards into stacks does make the ownership of pressed pulp more bearable. Despite the intensity of this loathing, I will let one, two, and even three piles accumulate over months as I try to decide what is the best termination method for them. A habit of shredding unwanted sheets, pages, and envelopes of the aforementioned, moments after I receive them and deem them unwanted, has never materialized despite having owned two perfectly good shredders. Apartments with fireplaces are ideal for this dilemma, though they are few and far between in the city of Manhattan. Putting out a large bag of paper-recycling leaves me all kinds of uncomfortable, because it must sit on a NYC curb for a day or so, free for all manner of hoodlums and scoundrels that pass it on their way to cock-fights and other alleyway shenanigans. Sometimes I’ll load my beater with a couple of bags and seek out one of the more hidden dumpsters in Brooklyn to rid myself of papers that these types might use for some of the following: mock my ATM habits, condemn my choice in cheap, but stylish furniture catalogs, insinuate I have a problem with Diet Coke after viewing a Walgreens’ receipt, or taking the one or two photos I might have tossed, from my less-than-handsome days, to scan and paste somewhere for the entire world. Truth is, I don’t have much to hide outside of the usually identity information lots of companies would like me to pay to protect. Even so, when we left our last apartment I made sure to trash the things I didn’t want see in three separate bags that I set out at three separate times, and at three separate locations. I’m a lot of things: paranoid, a waster of gas and plastic bags, the former owner of two perfectly good shredders – but at least I’m not lazy.

NYC Street Mail Boxes

I’m sure I’m not alone in fearing that important mail, if such a thing still exists, might never make it to its intended recipient if I just conveniently toss it in one of the seemingly forgotten NYC street mail boxes. And so, when I have something I’ve deemed problematic-if-lost in the letters/packages category I tend to take it to the nearest full service post office.

But after a few surly encounters with the US postal services best and brightest, I got to thinking: What if my important documents stand a better chance of making it to their destination if they aren’t hand delivered by me? Bare with me for a second, my line of thought is less complicated than my ability to scribe it. What I am saying is: When someone picks it up from the box I presume there is less, if any, emotion assigned to that letter or package by the dutiful mailman. But, if I happen to hand it off to a human being who exists in an atmosphere of misery already, and they don’t take kindly to my polite small talk, or think someone as handsome as me deserves a little inconvenience – maybe the very act of dropping it face-to-face is statistically more prone to error.

Isn’t it possible that the woman who took my last important package, who was furious that I’d not bothered to fill out a few lines on some paperwork prior to seeing her, decided to just drop my carefully enveloped documents in the trash? She has that power, and had I just put them in the blue box closest to work she’d not have had the chance to judge me, hate me, and sentence me to undelivered mail.

I am thinking this is why my band The Future isn’t famous in Bosnia yet. Maybe the packaged CD I entrusted her to send to some random blogger in a country notorious for its prompt rock blogger response times never made it because she was feeling especially fat that day. And a skinny, irresponsible, and unluckily dashing fella like me was just enough to push her sense of right and wrong over the line, deep enough into wrong, to give her the gumption to take it to the bathroom later and crap on it.

Anything is possible, maybe the blogger just didn’t like us, but honestly that hardly seems probable.