Oh, sweet baby Jesus tapdancing on a candy apple, 2015 is off to a distinctly irksome start.
And that’s all it is, is irksome. It isn’t life-threatening, it isn’t causing me to run to my doctor and request anti-anxiety medication, I’m not drinking any more than usual and I have broken no limbs (so far – knock wood). That said, good lord, universe, feel free to let up.
It began on New Year’s Eve. In recent years I have adopted the notion of sending out the old year the way you’d like to usher in the new one. So I spent the day cooking food, and cleaning up my apartment, and getting ready to go out and spend time with friends.
The cleaning is the important bit.
Somewhere along the way I pulled out a garbage bag and started to fill it. I had three people staying in my apartment at this point, we’d generated a lot of stray paper and disposable baking tins and various detritus and I figured it was a good time to yank some of the more, ah, geriatric stuff out of the refrigerator. My intention was to carry the trash out when we left to go to my friend Kate’s mother-in-law’s New Year’s Eve party. Seemed a solid plan.
Until I couldn’t find the bag.
My apartment? Not so large. Certainly not large enough to lose a half-filled black plastic garbage bag in.
I looked everywhere. Out on the balcony, front and back. In the kitchen. Under the dining room table. In a similar plastic bag that my aunt was storing her dirty laundry in – three times at least. All over my bedroom. The bathroom. The closet I never go into.
That’s it, that’s my apartment, the sum total of it. And there was no partially-filled black plastic garbage bag anywhere. I checked again.
“It must have walked off,” my mother said, a joke that she and my aunt found uproariously funny.
“It’ll come back,” my aunt said.
When we couldn’t find the damn bag, we left without taking out the garbage, which just drove me up a wall sideways. How could I start the new year with a bag of garbage hiding impossibly somewhere inside my apartment? There’s no way. I mean for one thing, garbage does not get up and walk off – nothing perishable in the bag had been in my refrigerator long enough to start up the evolutionary process and everything else was paper trash. Secondly, I had no desire to start up the new year with the olfactory product of a bag of garbage and my heater being on. The litterbox I have to live with is quite enough in the nasal assault regard, thank you, and I clean that out pretty frequently.
And really, it was the principle of the thing. I will not be thwarted by compost materials, damn it.
So when we got home after midnight, I recommenced my search. “Oh, no, come on,” my mom said.
“I’m not starting the new year like this, that trash is going out, the new year starts clean,” I replied, stalking rather grimly around the living room and surreptitiously trying to peer into my aunt’s laundry bag for the tenth time without looking like I was trying to do that. “I can’t start a new year with that in the house.”
“So you’re going to start it by obsessing about trash?”
…well, damn it, that was a pretty good point. HMPH.
So I went to bed, grumpy and grumbling and thinking, well, at least I am starting the new year with a refrigerator full of food, three happy cats, an otherwise clean apartment, and I guess I can live with that.
Which just made walking into the kitchen the next morning and spotting the goddamn black plastic garbage bag sitting all smug and half-full a whole new extra special kind of infuriating.
“I guess it decided to come back,” my aunt said casually as I stood white-knuckled and hissing with a bowl of cinnamon Chex in my hand.
That I murdered no one is…it’s sure something.
What I didn’t know then is that the stupid garbage bag was just the beginning of a string of fuckery that is actually still going on now. Boy, am I going to have more stories for you soon.
If I survive it.