Here's Johnny - Garbage follies
From time to time, I inflict stories of frustrating experiences on Dear Readers, hoping to, if nothing else, amuse y'all. I know some of these tales may seem like meaningless garbage ... Speaking of which, in the past three months, I've had three garbage-related encounters that left me a bit unsettled, like a trash bag that wasn't packed properly before being set out on a curb. Let me begin by expressing my deep respect for the folks who keep our communities clean. Their job is every bit as important as mine and, in some cases, probably pays better. A fellow named Larry Joe served in the French Lick Sanitation Department after dropping out of Indiana University and before signing up with Indiana State and the Celtics and becoming Larry Legend. Larry Bird said he was proud of his work - and that if hadn't become a great basketball player, he liked to think he would have been a supervisor after awhile. Sadly, I'm neither the basketball player nor the human being Mr. Bird is. My first troubling encounter with the fine folks who pick up the garbage in downtown Versailles came in July or so. I drove down South Main Street and turned left into Tilford Alley, the way I always do on the way to work. On this day, though, there was a massive garbage truck parked in such a way that I couldn't make the right turn to park behind the Sun building. I waited a few minutes until it moved out of the way, then parked and walked in, a bit miffed. Now, don't get me wrong - I'm aware the world doesn't revolve around me and happy for all of us about that. But trust me on this: if the truck moved just 10 feet ahead before parking, it would have been out of my way and the way of all those (not many, I'll admit) who use that bit of Tilford Alley. A month or so later, the same thing happened. This time, I was a bit put out and showed it. I got out of my car and explained my reasoning to one of the gentlemen on the truck. Perhaps my message was not as clear as intended, but he didn't seem to understand my position. He finally said, "You need to be more patient." Perhaps I did, and do. As the old prayer goes, "God grant me patience, and hurry the heck up about it." I shut my mouth and, after the truck finally moved ahead, parked in my usual spot and walked in to work, medium-miffed. I told myself that I'd not handled the encounter in my usually diplomatic fashion, and resolved that if it happened again, I'd smile and speak softly. It happened again a few days ago. This time, though I was a lot miffed, I got out of the car, smiled and spoke softly. Using every bit of communication ability honed by 25-plus years in journalism, politics and public affairs, I told one of the workers that if they could just move a few feet ahead ... I also told him that I appreciated their work. This time, the conversation ended when he told me that I should have left for work 10 minutes earlier. Please understand: I don't think these folks should have to go out of their way to help me and other Tilford Alley enthusiasts, but moving their truck 10 feet might have added three feet to their walk to the back of it. This time, I did what any responsible, empathetic adult would do. I did not call their boss. I ratted 'em out to the mayor. I hope you enjoy this special edition of The Sun. I hope we made history sing, or at least squeak pleasantly. Everyone worked very hard on it, including me, when I finally got into work.