My Greatest Fear #22: Garbage Bins

Every week or so, I take a detour in my parking lot as I leave the building in the morning. I drag a trash bag full of cat poop, orange-mango-pineapple juice containers, and other assorted items to the garbage bin.

I always make sure to put my keys in my pocket before taking this journey, lest I accidentally throw them into the garbage bin. I can’t think of a worst way to start the day than digging through a garbage bin for keys.

The best days are when that giant plastic flap on the top of the garbage bin is already open and I can fling my trash bag in from a distance. But those days are few and far between in this world of “sanitation” and “rabid squirrels.”

So upon reaching the bin, I gingerly lift up the very corner of the plastic flap, touching it with as little skin as possible (knowing that when the ordeal is over, I’ll somehow find myself putting that same hand inside my mouth, instantly infecting myself with the germs of my miscreant neighbors).

As I lift the flap, I cower in anticipation of the wildlife that might come hurtling out at me: the aforementioned squirrels, along with birds, raccoon, wombats, kittens (you do not mess with a garbage kitten), rats, and sewer nymphs.

When nothing happens, I toss my trash into the bin and immediately let go of the flap, hoping that my speed will limit the amount of bacteria that jumps onto my hand. But in doing so, the falling flap propels a gust of trash air in my direction.

And let’s be honest: trash air is the worst. I don’t know how often they really clean out those containers, but I’m guessing it’s about as often as Lindsay Lohan makes healthy life choices. Trash air is like being slapped in the mouth with a rotten egg wrapped in feces. It’s disgusting.

Finally I walk away, relieved of the garbage and fortunate that I wasn’t attacked by garbage kittens, completely oblivious to the fact that I’ve already stuck my hand in my mouth. I really need to stop doing that.