Monday, January 03, 2005

Why you put the garbage there?

Today, I scoped out the neighborhood. It's been about ten years since I lived on this side of town, which was really before the Starbucks-ization and Barnes-N-Noble-izing had taken place. I was on the lookout for a good hardware store - which I found, after already having made my purchases in a not-so-good hardware store. Next on the list was finding an organic grocery store like Whole Foods since I'm on this bizarre liver-cleansing diet. It requires a lot of herbal supplements like dandelion and borage oil, which I found at the local GNC. The manager was extremely solicitous; surprisingly, instead of being annoying, he was actually helpful. The store was so spotless that I asked if they had just opened; apparently this guy just runs a tight ship, because the store had been there for 20 years or so. As for an organic grocery store, no luck. I did find a small organic-ish deli, which had the undiluted cranberry juice I was after. (Part of the diet involves drinking 64 oz of "cranwater" a day. I thought this would be a lot, but apparently I drank that much water or more every day just on my own.) So now I'm set: flaxseed oil, cranwater, AND NO DELICIOUS CARBOHYDRATES.

It doesn't help that there's a Popeyes (my faaaaavorite fried chicken place) staring evilly at me from its perch right there at the end of my block.

The other part of today involved meeting the super, and tipping him quite extravagantly. I don't know what the protocol is exactly, but I figured it couldn't hurt. He was very happy about it.

The movers came and brought the stuff that had been in storage; this was mostly boxes of dishes, boxes of books, and the bed. They were done in about an hour. We also had a giant set of beautiful but unwieldy shelves, which I asked them to leave on the street. This set of shelves and drawers was comprised of six fairly heavy pieces. Within an hour, all the pieces but one (which had somehow been damaged) had been spirited away. That's one thing I love about New York: instant recycling. That old set of shelves/pair of shoes/hideous end table that you've fallen out of love with and is now cluttering up your life? Put it on the street, and it instantly becomes the answer to someone else's prayers. They were walking along hoping to find a set of shelves/pair of shoes/hideous end table, and then fate steps in.

After the shelves, the microwave and a set of plastic drawers were also adopted off the street.

Finally, I had most of the boxes unpacked, flattened and taken to the street. All the dishes were unwrapped and washed, and the bed was assembled. Now all that remained was to take five bags of packing paper to the street for recycling. In front of our building were just garbage bags, while down the street in front of a large high-rise, there was a giant mountain of recycling bags. Thinking perhaps that the whole block consolidated the recycling pickup in one place, I trotted the bags the quarter-block down.

Of course, I was instantly punished.

"Why you put the garbage there? You can't do that," slurred a woman, staring at me in indignation (and a red cardigan.)

"It's not garbage. It's recycling," I said, fairly chipper.

"They have recycling at YOUR building. Where YOU live."

I claimed ignorance, playing the "hayseed who has just arrived," claiming (truthfully) that this was really my first day here. Never mind that where I'd moved from was really just the West Side, where I knew where the recycling goes.

So I cheerfully picked the five bags up, and moved them in front of our building, gathering stares from people who thought I was someone from the high-rise dumping the recycling in front of the brownstone. Maybe the buildings get charged for the amount of recycling, I don't know.

And in the distance, Popeye's beckoned to me. Come and eat of my crunchy fried deliciousness, it said.

So I went upstairs and had my cranwater. Mmm. Yummy.


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