Santa Ana

Southern California is well- known for erratic harsh wind conditions nicknamed Santa Ana. It was either named for the city, the historical figure, or something else entirely — ultimately it makes little difference. What I do know for certain is that it wreaks havoc on my neighborhood. Well, not so much the neighborhood itself, but a crucial part of the neighborhood… the trashcans.

Come Wednesday morning all the trashcans are lined up like little smelly patrol men waiting for their turns to flip their lids and regurgitate their vile repast into a large, noisy truck. By the time I return home Wednesday evening, these sick little patrolmen have rolled half-way to the corner liquor store — no doubt for a rum run. I suppose you’d drink too if your sole purpose in life was to hold garbage, right?

Okay,  maybe they didn’t make it to the liquor store, but somehow, thanks to Santa Ana, they always end up at the bottom of the street along with all of my neighbors’ cans. They’re all sprawled out against the gutter and sidewalk like hopeless hobos, unsure where they came from or where to go. And here I stand in the middle of the road, trying to figure out which cans are mine among the mess of plastic and muck. Why do I bother going through so much hassle to identify my cans? Because they are my cans! It would be so much easier to have everyone write their names on the cans for cases such as these. With all seriousness, would you want someone else’s trashcan?

Unfortunately, no one wants to admit to their own garbage. Heaven forbid if we admit to eating Fruitloops! Yep, that’s my Bengay box. Three buckets of KFC last week? Hey, hands off my Ben and Jerry’s carton. When it’s tossed it’s gone, out of our thoughts and clear of our minds. The last thing we want is our neighbors to know that we read Teen Idol at age forty-nine, or that we’re trying to save money by buying the cheap toilet paper. Just in case some incriminating evidence is left behind, stuck on the inside of the can by some great glob of half-melted Jello, we can’t put our names on it nor do we want someone else’s can in case their incriminating evidence is worse than your own.

It really shouldn’t matter that your neighbor bought the latest Lady Gaga CD and now the packaging is in your can. (She bought a CD? *Giggle, giggle, snort!*) Isn’t all the garbage going to the same place? It’s not like we’re going to be judged in the end by what we threw away or  what someone thought we threw away… will we? For now, I just hope the Santa Ana’s don’t blow by tomorrow. I would hate to admit to what is in my trashcan this week.