Three things happen on Tuesday morning around here: the trash is picked up; the street sweeper comes by; Bible study at church. Preferably in that order.
Bible study starts at 10. The street sweeper comes by sometime before noon. The trash truck comes whenever it darn well pleases, sometime between 7 in the morning and 5 at night.
This morning I was backing out of the driveway about 9:30 when the trash truck lumbered down the street. When the trash guys empty the cans, they leave them in the gutter. Why, I don’t know. Maybe to remind themselves — or some roaming trash truck errant — that this street has been done.
Exactly when I turned into “that crazy woman who wants her gutter clean,” I can’t say. But by gum, if the city is going to send the street sweeper by my house every Tuesday, I sure want to make sure it does its job. So if a car is parked there, or if there are trash cans, my part of the street is missed because the street sweeper makes a detour and whatever debris was there is still there for the rest of the week. Drat! To try to stop this from happening, I began pulling the trash cans back onto the curb for the houses on each side of me.
Sometimes I’m outside when the street sweeper comes by in his huge yellow machine. I wave, he waves — sometimes. So I was quite surprised about a month ago when I heard the sweet sweeper on Monday. Now that I’m retired, it does happen that sometimes I get my days confused, but I was pretty sure it was Monday. I checked the date on the newspaper — yep, Monday. Strange. Stranger still was that the machine had stopped and was rumbling right outside my house. Had I entered The Twilight Zone?
I scurried out and found the driver sitting in the cab eating his lunch. I reached up (it’s pretty high up there) and tapped on the window. He rolled it down, took a swig of Pepsi and said, “Hi.”
“Hi yourself — it’s Monday. You’re the sweet sweeper. Your day is Tuesday. Whatcha doing here?”
“Oh, I’m taking a couple of days off and won’t be here tomorrow so thought I’d just run through this neighborhood and get it done before I go.”
Su-weet! “I sure appreciate that,” I told him and then proceeded to tell him how I pull the trash cans out of the street for him. “Hey, thanks. I hate to make those little detours.”
We chatted for about 5 minutes while he swigged his Pepsi, then he said, “Hey, nice talking to you, but I’d better get moving.” I stepped back as he put the monster machine in gear and rumbled down the street. What a nice guy!
So what does the hand-sanitizer have to do with all this? As I said, the trash truck came by just as I was leaving, so as soon as it was gone, I jumped out of my car, grabbed the trash cans lying in the gutter and hauled them up onto their respective properties, one to the east of me, one to the west. That done, I jumped back in the car and headed to church.
Of course my hands felt yucky. I keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in the glove compartment. I don’t like the stuff, but there are times — and this was one of them — when it comes in handy. There are only 4 stoplights between here and church and you know when you need a red light, you never get one. At the first intersection, I caught the tail end of the red and managed to open the glove compartment and fish out the little bottle. The next 3 lights were green.
The street outside church is wide and as I turned onto it, there was no traffic — not coming toward me, not behind me. I took that moment to open the bottle and squirt some of the noxious stuff onto my hands. I looked away for just a second, I swear! At that moment, a big black car came out of the apartment complex on my left. Apparently I had veered into the middle lane because he leaned on his horn, scaring the daylights out of me. I jerked the wheel to the right — thank heaven nobody was there — and spilled sanitizer in my lap as well as a big glop in my hands which was then generously smeared onto the steering wheel. The guy in the black car swept past me no doubt thinking, “stupid woman should know better than to text and drive!”
Now my car smells like hand sanitizer. I hate that smell and I’m going to be smelling it for the next few days. It’ll be a reminder that I should never take my eyes off the road!
I am pleased to report, however, that when I got home, the sweet sweeper was rumbling down the block, having cleared my gutter — and not only that, he came back and made a second pass. I was in the house, but I waved anyway.