Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Shredding Reflections

I'm going to bed in a minute, as in, putting my head on the pillow and putting the ear plugs in my ears and the mask over my eyes. Not just sitting on the bed with the comforter over my legs, pillows to my back, my laptop on my heavily pillowed...well...lap as I spend most of the time I'm home if I'm not cooking or doing laundry or soaking in the tub. Those are my favorite things to do, those four.

My bed is my home office, really. Oh, we have a "computer room" with a desk and, now, an art table and a daybed. Our desktop computer is in there and Freddy uses it to read the New York Times and New York Post, but that's about it. I prefer my bed and the printer that sits on top of Freddy's nightstand, it's cable snaked around the headboard to my side where I connect it, periodically when I need to print out a flyer, or something. So I don't use the desktop in the computer room, much. I quickly check my email in there, sometimes, while shredding the cereal boxes that the recycling Nazi won't accept, but that's about it.

Freddy takes the recycling stuff to the recycling place, which is a developmental center for mentally challenged people. I didn't think about that when I got the resentment.

It all goes back to when I was working full-time in the ER and trying to run a business on my "days off" and Freddy ate frozen dinners all the time. I mean all. the. time. (I especially like this putting a period after each, separate word to accentuate the statement-thing). So we had mountains of frozen dinner cardboard containers and lots of cereal boxes which I flattened like a good, green witch and stuffed into the box with the cardboard for the recycling center. That went alright for a while and then one day Freddy came home and said:

"You can't put the cardboard tv dinner boxes into the recycling, anymore."


"They won't take it."

"Why the hell not?" I asked.

"Because it's not considered cardboard".

"What? Since when?"

"I don't know. He just said, 'Tell your wife this is trash,' kinda grouchy."

"Well, what the fuck is cardboard, then?"

"I guess the corrugated stuff like big boxes are made out of."


Freddy didn't mention "developmentally delayed" man, he just said, "man" so I was just thinking "What an asshole," and immediately went about devising a plan to scam the recycling...person. Then it dawned on me. The shredder! I'd shred all that, what I know damn well is, cardboard and send it to the recycling center in the black, plastic bags along with the other shredded paper I always sent and the "tell your wife this is trash" horse's ass would be none the wiser. And that's what I've been doing for about 9 months. Every time I take a carton into the computer room and shred it I mentally thumb my nose at the "tell your wife this is trash" man. About 5 months ago it finally dawned on me.

"Hey, you know that guy at the recycling center?" I asked Freddy one day.

Blank stare. "What guy?" He always waits a while before admitting he doesn't know what I'm talking about out of fear of a scolding.

"The guy who told you the cardboard was trash and they wouldn't take it."

"Yeah?". He clearly didn't remember.

"Was he retarded?"

"Oh, that guy. Yeah, he was."

Shit. There went all the fun, almost. I found a way around it, though, by deciding to forget about it, pretending he was a supervisor of normal intelligence. Blocking the clarifying conversation with Freddy out of my mind and sharpening the mental image I have of the recycling Nazi and delighting in outsmarting him.

And I shred. Some of us especially need victories like this.