Our kids’ school is at the end of the most treacherous and poorly maintained ½-mile stretch of dirt road in the county. It is only wide enough for one and half cars to pass—funny that’s how many wide my truck is. It possesses 5 speed bumps (yes that is 5 speed bumps in ½ a mile). At the beginning of the road there is a recurring-nightmarish pothole that has swallowed more metal than the Bermuda triangle.
It is the only way in or out.
Of the 8 or 9 homes that are situated on this road, 8 or 9 of them have placed those little reflectors on their property lines right on the edge of the road. Those deals are not terribly rigid so when the wind blows, they tip into the path of oncoming vehicles. Then scrape across the sides of said vehicles as they pass. These reflectors line both sides of the road-lette. With the potholes. And the speed bumps. And now the garbage cans.
But let’s back up to the speed bumps a second. As if they weren’t ridiculous enough in their size and number, they also possess their own GIGANTIC yellow signs to announce them. These signs further cut the width of the road by 10” on either side but only right at the height of say a giant SUV’s side-view mirror. Yes they are on either side: SPEED BUMP. So there goes another 2 feet of road.
So today, I notice that the garbage cans that are usually nicely placed at the end of the residents’ driveways are now, in fact, directly in the path of oncoming cars. This further reduces the overall width of the road to that of say a friggin’ bike path.
Being the good old-fashioned do-it-yourself redneck than I am, I was moving the garbage cans out of the way. I’d pull in and wave to the cars behind me as I rolled these giant brown behemoths out of our collective path. The drivers behind me would smile and wave, ‘Poor sap’ they were probably saying to themselves. ‘She hasn’t gotten the memo.’ And here I thought I was being a really useful engine. Ha!
So, I’m leaving school yesterday and I notice that the first driveway has its can still in the middle of the road----and when I say middle, I mean like the middle of the damn already tiny, scraping the shit out of my nice truck, pounding my front axel, paying thousands of dollars for this hassle—road.
Let me just preface this by saying that, because the theme of eternal recurrence is so prevalent in all areas of my life, it just didn’t dawn on me that I had been moving this same garbage can from the road for 3 straight days. To me, it’s just one long, continuous strand of Groundhog Days. But the smarter parents figured it out right away and were just weaving around it as best they could.
They were doing this because of Trash Can Man.
Whom I now see in his driveway as I slow to move his garbage can. He is sitting on a garden tractor. He is bald and looks a lot like he’s out on a work-release program but got fired. I mean it’s like 3 in the afternoon and he’s just sitting on a non-running garden tractor waiting for hapless parents to try and move his garbage can. I am not the first. And he is engaging with us in the most delightful fashion. He’s letting us know that it’s staying there ‘to slow you down,’ he says to me.
Hmm…At this point the thinking side of my brain is being overruled by, well, let’s call it the ‘Irish’ side of my brain.
Can I tell you that it is physically impossible to go more than 7 miles an hour on that road. But he wants to slow us down.
I yell out the window, ‘Dude, are you serious? Well, I’m calling the road commission. You cannot block egress. It’s the only way in or out of here—you dumbass’ (I said that last part to myself).
And then this sweet little voice chimes in from the back seat: ‘Who was that man, Mama?’ ‘Well, honey that man is sick in his brain. And a bit of a punk, isn’t he?’ I said rhetorically. And that little voice said back to me ‘Kinda like us this morning, right?’
I rolled my window up and drove off. It took me the 2 minutes to the end of that stretch of road to determine that I am not calling anybody. I’m not touching that dude’s trashcan ever again. I’m not even engaging the services of a friend who might have a plow truck sittin’ around with nothing better to do than take out a few reflectors and a dumpster. Nope. I’m going to keep my Irish fat redneck mouth shut and drive around that crazy bastard’s can for the next 4 and half weeks until we stop going to that school.
That, my friends, is progress.