Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

To Take out the Trash, or Not to Take It Out: That Is the Question

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

To Take out the Trash, or Not to Take It Out: That Is the Question

Article excerpt

At some point on (most) Tuesday nights, an imaginary light bulb turns on and I ask myself: "What day was today?"

What follows is the mental equivalent of one of those Rube Goldberg sculptures in which a small metal ball rolls down a narrow wooden ramp, eventually flipping the switch that turns the gear, that yanks the coil, that releases the hammer, that hits the teeter- totter, that makes another small metal ball suddenly take flight and hit you in the head.

Well, at least that's how MY mind works.

So, let's see: I dropped off my laundry today, which means today is Tuesday, which means tomorrow is Wednesday, which means ...

Garbage day!

And this is pretty much what I went through last Tuesday night, until I noticed that I had hardly any garbage in my kitchen. So: Take it out or not?

On the one hand, it was garbage, which I generally prefer to keep outside the house, rather than inside.

On the other hand, I was going to have to put on my coat, find my hat, walk down 20 steps, put the trash in the pail, drag the pail to the street ... and for what? Seven ounces of cardboard and a handful of coffee grinds?

I don't think so.

Winters are tricky that way. One winter, a few years ago, I was visiting my parents and happened to walk over to their freezer for some ice. The first thing I saw, though, when I opened the freezer door was a plastic zip-lock bag filled with banana peels.

"Are you saving these for banana bread?" I asked my mother, holding up the fat frosty bag between my svelte frosty fingers.

"Don't be silly," she replied. "Who puts banana peels in banana bread? That's garbage."

"Oh, I'm sorry," I said, putting - Huh? - the bag back into the freezer.

(She later told me that her front steps were icy on garbage day, so she put the peels in the freezer so her house wouldn't have "that old banana smell.")

Apparently, we all have our own little garbage-y idiosyncrasies. My parents keep a small pail under the kitchen sink with a yellow grocery bag in it so they never accumulate too much garbage. I have a large pail next to my sink with a tall kitchen trash bag in it.

These bags are sold by the box, they aren't cheap and are probably the only things I buy for the express purpose of throwing away. …

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