Thursday, May 19, 2011


In New York, the State really encourages recycling. Don’t get me wrong, so do other states like Minnesota. But in New York it is a fine-able offense like disobeying the alternate side parking rules, failing curbing your dog or honking on parts of Park Avenue. I don’t ever remember Governor Jesse Ventura going ballistic on the issue of separating paper from plastic. He had plenty of other things to do like not fund education and give back rebates and drain the state’s savings account.

Inside my apartment I quickly separate my refuse into three bags, garage, J. Crew catalogues and Diet Coke cans into the third. My building super is very good, he keeps the building immaculate and even the refuse disposal area is very tidy, with three clearly marked signs: PAPER, RECYCLING, GARBAGE, over clearly marked garbage cans. You have to be stupid not to understand his system, so it makes him super nuts to find people disobeying him and the State of New York.

I step out of my apartment, three bags of refuse in tow. I stuff my keys into my pocket, to ensure I don’t toss them out with the trash, and face the elevator. It is on the sixth floor so I decide to walk out of the front door and access the disposal area from the side entrance.

The Super is coming out of the side entrance, holds the door open for me, eyeing my garbage. I am pretty sure he is making sure I have separated to the letter of the law specifications.  I come around the corner and stop in my tracks. Shoot! The Crazy Lady with the 3 dogs is rifling through the recycling. I am still 20 feet away from her so I cannot ascertain what she is doing exactly; I think she is looking for collectables. And I am pretty sure I don’t want to be in a confined space with her. There is a part of me that things I should step back slowly and just way, way, way break the law and toss all my trash and recycling into a city street bin. Too late, she must sense me and looks up.

“Hi!” she says. “Ah, hey,” I reply and decide that I can toss my stuff in 10 seconds and speed walk away. “What do you have in your bags?” she asks. “Uhm, garbage – coffee grinds, egg shells,” I reply. “No, no, the others – I make art you know,” she says. Okay, really not in the mood for this. What kind of person is not disgusted with “coffee grinds and egg shells”?  And what? Art? AIY! “I see,” I reply. “Yea, I do a show,” she replies. Stupid me asks, “You have a studio?” “No,” she says in a tone that she finds me boring.

“I make all my art in my apartment,” she says. “What’s in your other bags?” she asks. “Diet Coke cans and J. Crew catalogues,” I reply. “You shop there, eh? I have some pants I bought 8 years ago, I still wear them. I’ll show you some time,” she says. Great, just what I need! “Ok,” I reply. “So how do you make the art in your apartment? Do you have a 2-bedroom?” I ask and then want to punch myself, stop engaging her! “No, I have a one bedroom,” she replies. “But, you have all those animals – you have that much space?” I ask. “I don’t have any furniture,” she replies just as the super comes back and catches me talking to her. He gives me the “she’s crazy look” and goes into the building.

“Talk to you later, I have to ask the super for something,” I reply and empty my bags into the bins. “Be careful, he hates single women,” she says. Whatever. I’ll take my chances. I had a light bulb I could not reach and I asked him for help and he did it. I don’t think it is single women, I think it is single crazy women the super prefers to avoid.

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