My next door neighbour caught me in our shared alleyway (but let’s admit it, it’s actually my driveway, which her giant, looming house abuts) and told me that her garage bin smelled.
“My garbage bin. It smells, doesn’t it?”
Unless she’s storing diamonds or jasmine petals in there, yeah, I’d say it smelled. It smells. Like garbage.
“Yes, it does, doesn’t it?” This was a genuine question and, I suspect, a real revelation. She gently lifted the lid of her bin and peered in, brow raised. Took a dainty sniff…as if to demonstrate the smell.
I don’t know.
This all can’t be real, can it? Can’t it be? What’s the game here, then, really?
Is she trying to tell me my garbage smells? Because it does, like garbage.
Is this some kind of test? I disagree and she’ll never, ever bring it up again? Or I agree and she shows me how deep the rabbit hole really goes.
Is she just amusing herself, inserting the absurd into the banal? Into each other? Hard to blame her, if so. But no.
No. I don’t think so.
Her housekeeper was bleaching and washing the garbage bin in the alleyway that I must now adamantly insist is actually my driveway. But more than that: um, what?
“She says it smells like garbage.”
I had watched the housekeeper a while, confounded. She nearly fell into the bin in the act of cleaning it; so large was it that it half swallowed her whole was she dove in, head first, to bleach its gaping insides. And then, with a kind of practiced fall, she tumbled out and rinsed the bin off with a bucket and a fistful of sopping rags.
Garbage water everywhere, which smells, pooling at our feet. Like garbage, it smelled, even as it seeped into every crevice on the patchwork asphalt that makes up my driveway, even as it baked into the runoff from the lawn under the oppressive heat of the summer sun.
Please don’t do that ever again on my driveway.
“I won’t. I’m sorry. She told me. I just…she says she wants them clean.” It was almost a question.
But she will never get them clean. She will never get rid of the smell. She will never be rid of the taint.
But looking at this situation: taint ain’t nothing.