it was early.
i was at the beer bottle-&-can recycling dispenser with a shopping cart full of bottles. it was busy devouring and destroying until it was pot-belly-full and an attendant had to come and empty it. it was too early for this sort of thing. but i was okay. the sun was cold and could only flicker quickly through the wind but i was okay. i was studying peacefully the inside a giant dirty bin filled with the ready-to-recycle crushed shiny cans the greyish grand union employee was emptying. i thanked him twice in one sentence. he wouldn't look me in the eye at all and i'm pretty sure i confused him or made him very angry, something of the sort. i do that. i have habits.
"that looks really pretty, actually" i said and gestured with a nod toward the christmas-tinsel-silver mess of cans. he didn't respond or he did but just by scowling, he lifted the bag out of the bin that reeked of one hundred strangers drunken nights, month old nights. he didn't seem to find it at all pretty, let alone any opposite of disgusting. i could see that he hated me. his face was giving away his obvious notion that probably i had never had to get involved in anyone else's messes ever. it was windy and the garbage bag was flapping, sounding like a bird with very large wings. the situation now was no longer okay. i felt small and entitled to something i didn't even own, we all empty garbage bags, we all carry them. sometimes the bags' tops that we grab and twist in our hands are wet with that smell of trash and week old life, sometimes the juices leak out and drag on while we drag on. i took a step away from him, allowing him his assumption, which seemed to sort of relax him a bit. "not her, not ever, no sir. "
i visually resigned to the front of the beat-up chain supermarkets machines' decor. there was a flimsy paper ad taped to the beer bottle dispenser with a pixel portrait of what might be called a happy couple. the flier was announcing this very happy couples search for a baby to adopt. they were stable and catholic, it said, they lived near good schools. the kid looked up at me examining the paper as if i probably wasn't from this planet and i thought maybe he was right. i took a picture with my cell phone of the adoption seekers flier. i wanted to remember that life was actually like this. not even the stale, heavy old beer smell could make me not need one, but it was early and the kid was almost done with the garbage and all his personal crosses to carry so i put my phone away and lit a cigarette.