Ever since I was a kid, one of my favorite films has been The ‘Burbs. It reminded me of the apartment complex where I grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, where there were always people moving in and moving out — and you wondered what their M.O. was. You’d bond with some neighbors and feud with others, but there was always some excitement and drama. I think I love that movie so much because it nails the reality of, when you live in a small, quiet area, you’re always on the hunt for ways to make life seem a little more thrilling.
Today, I live in a quiet middle-to-working class neighborhood in Northeast Philly. It’s not the hustle and bustle of Center City, but it’s not quite the suburbs, either. I, like many others, live a life of routine: I get up. I do yoga and have breakfast. I go to work. I come home, shower, eat dinner, watch some TV, read or write, and then go to sleep to repeat the same cycle. Sure, there are little things that make every day different and worth waking up to see the next one — like friends, family, good conversation, and good food. But for the most part, my life is not a powder keg of excitement.
The Importance of Making Your Own Adventure
You have to make your own adventures. Granted, taking public transportation on my morning commute can be an adventure itself. However, I’ve come to see Trash Day as something that can be viewed with some degree of excitement. Sure, the trash is always taken to the curb the Thursday evening before the city trash collectors come barreling down the street during the morning rush hour.
But sometimes, when I’m feeling feeling the call of adventure that sits somewhere between a Hobbit depositing a ring in the fires of Mount Doom and taking a laxative before an hour-long bus ride, I like to play “Beat the Clock” and find additional clutter to toss or decide to rid the fridge of any leftovers before the trash truck arrives.
I can almost hear the Mission: Impossible theme song playing in my head.
Case in point: Gifted with a surplus of energy this morning, I got up at 6:15am to clean out / reorganize the fridge and toss any expired products. Today, being Trash Day, I had to knock this out right quick. There were already four bags on the sidewalk that had been taken out last night.
Like a woman possessed, I found the items from the fridge that needed to be tossed and went out to the curb with one more full bag of trash.
Then I realized I forgot to toss some more things, went back inside to get them, and just hung out there, untying the bag on the sidewalk as a few parents were waiting at the bus stop with their kids. One lady I’m friendly with in the neighborhood said hello, saw me wrestling with the bag and said, “Trust me. I’ve been there before, honey.”
I looked down and realized that I was still wearing the outfit I slept in: boxers, no shoes, and a t-shirt shirt with a raccoon on it that says, “Live Fast, Eat Trash” as I’m opening a Hefty bag with expired food.
The irony was not lost on me. I had to laugh. I mean, it’s not like I have any shame anyway. However, it was like I had chosen the perfect outfit to go riffling through the trash and looking like the cheese had completely slid off my cracker an a crisp autumn morning.
And that, friends, is what life is all about: Finding the fun and funny in even the most mundane scenarios and making them just a little more absurd. Here’s to Trash Day!