By Terry Sweeney
Have my recycling bins become buckets of shame?
The other morning I was stunned by the sound of a tremendous crash outside my door. Since I live on a busy corner, I immediately imagined that four cars had collided at the intersection — all of their windshields shattering simultaneously. Like the rest of my neighbors, I threw open my door, ready to perhaps save some poor soul. But instead… of twisted steel and broken glass, to my shock and dismay, I beheld my very own blue recycling bin suspended upside down over a city recycling truck with a huge mountain of my empty broken wine bottles beneath it! Accusing eyes darted quickly in my direction. I smiled sheepishly and quickly made up a not very convincing “That damn Water Festival … Yankee out-of-towners dropping’ their empties in your recycling bin!!! How rude!!” “Yeah, right” their eyes said back to me as unconvinced doors slammed and windows shut.
Damn these under-three-dollars-a-bottle “value wines!” They’ve got me drinking wine like it’s water! No, I take that back, I’m drinking wine instead of water (it’s cheaper!). Soon I’ll be brushing my teeth with it, washing the car with it — and the dog! (I’ll bet that’ll put an end to her trying to jump outta the sink!)
A month ago when this happened, I didn’t have the Water Festival to even try to pin it on. My big, strapping, macho garbage lady, who I bet wrestles alligators on her day off, had to ask a passing man to grab the other end of my jam-packed bin to help her lift it onto her truck. I don’t think she’s ever in her life asked a man for anything, not even Santa.
Desperate measures are called for. I started coming up with alternate plans to mask my out-of-control value wine usage. What if I put my garbage in my recycling bins and all my empty wine bottles in my giant blue garbage can? Maybe I could also pack the wine bottles with white Styrofoam peanuts, so they could cascade out elegantly and quietly into the back of the sanitation truck. I could pretend they were part of an artsy display for the Beaufort Tricentennial, you know, perhaps “Celebrating 300 years of Binge Drinking in Beaufort?” Nah, the Tricentennial Commission would never go for it, no matter how historically accurate it was. Back to the drawing board.
I decide that a deliciously diabolical plan might be to drive my recycling bins to someone else’s house, then once empty, pick them up the next day. But whose house?
Who did I know who was on vacation? Or better yet, off at rehab? As I drove past a local church that strictly forbids the drinking of alcoholic beverages, I was sorely tempted to place my bin curbside. But no … I couldn’t pin this guilt-laden mound of grape juice bottles on innocent people. Or could I? No!!
Wait a minute. Is that an empty house I spy with a “For Rent” sign in front of it? I screech to a halt. Lugging my clanky bin out of my car with all my might, then lowering it to the ground, I am forced to chase a runaway bottle as it rolls down the street. I grab it and read the label — “Oh, Tisdale Chardonnay! I remember you … Three bottles for $10 at Bi-Lo! Buy six and get 10% off which makes one bottle free!” You’re one of the darn reasons I got into this mess!!
Moving right along, I quickly do the old “baby in the hospital” switcheroo and load their innocent empty blue bin into my car. I drive off chuckling to myself while looking back in the rear view mirror at their now booze-stuffed bin: “Wow, what a bunch of drunks live in this neighborhood! If I were you, I’d lower the rent!”
Once home, I place a lone, empty plastic Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice bottle in my humble and virtuous booze-free bin and place it prominently next to the curb — four days ahead of time. ‘This is the real me, people!’ But how long can it last? Did I just hear that Publix has a liter and a half of Foxhorn Chardonnay on sale for $6.47?
Oh well … I tried, Lord! Looks like the best place for my bin is gonna be in the back of my car for now. Wait a minute, I think I remember seeing a “House for Sale” sign go up on Old Point and the owners drive off in a U-Haul. Hmmm….