It’s because garbage is really ugly. But also because it reveals so much about you that you may not want exposed like a small child who quite innocently says in a crowded elevator, “Daddy, why is there so much hair on your back?”
In an effort to use as little plastic as possible, the clear bags that cover my
“naturally dry-cleaned” shirts have been conscripted to serve as garbage bags. (I am not sure what naturally dry-cleaned means and I don’t think the government, at this point anyway, regulates this sort of labeling. For all I know it’s being cleaned in full-on PCB liquid. Nonetheless, it sounds green and at this moment that’s about as good as I can make it unless I want to wash and iron my own shirts. Which I don’t. And I recycle the bags, fer chrissake.)
I am always self-conscious when I take out my garbage in these bags because people can see what I’ve been doing. Similarly, when I am taking out a recycling container of 20
billion, or so, wine bottles, I never like to run into people on the elevator. Of course, there’s no avoiding that in a condo with 50 units, so when I do run into people, I generally overly-quickly explain that I’ve just had a huge party (of wine snobs and then I roll my eyes, like, Right?!). And how does it happen that I NEVER run into anyone when the top of my recycling bin is covered with organic, free range tomato cans?
With garbage that is fully visible it’s a little harder to explain about the Li’l Debbie Jell-Creme Roll wrappers, all 17 of them, or the empty bottle of Quell. And I prefer to avoid having them see things about which they can be sourly judgmental. I imagine people looking at my garbage and thinking Oh, look how wasteful he is throwing out that sock, and Good Lord, look at all that lint! Though what that might say about me I don’t know.
So when I take out my garbage and run into people I like to be ready to ask some chipper conversation-starting questions while looking my fellow elevator travelers right in the eyes as I ask.
“How’s Tina doing in obedience school? Oh kindergarten? Whatever.”
That way they can’t really break my gaze, look away and judgmentally peruse my clear bag of molding avocado pits, empty tubes of blueberry flavored lubricating jelly and the Cap’n Crunch box.