The Cowbell Trash Truck
By Teri Saya
It’s around 8:00 am. I am not a morning person so I’m still lying in bed. Behind my eyelids, I’m standing in a field of green grass, it’s a beautiful sunny day, there is a milk cow ambling towards me, her bell tinkling in the breeze. She begins to walk a little faster, butterflies flutter out of her way, the bell tinkles a little louder. The milk cow starts to trot, her udders swinging from side to side, her bell ringing more urgently.
When I see her galloping at full speed, I think Damn! That cow is coming right at me! My eyes fly open and I awaken to the cowbell of the trash truck coming down my street. I jump out of bed realizing I forgot to put the trash out for them. I run downstairs while tying my robe around me. I grab a trash bag off the floor, the change off the counter and unlock the front door just as they are passing by. I hand the man the bag and the tip over our fence as he walks by following the truck. He nods and says, “Muchas Gracias” and gives the cowbell a few more shakes.
In California, this scene is much different. It’s early morning, I’m still sleeping. Behind my eyelids, I’m standing on a sandy beach listening to the waves of the ocean. Watching the seagulls swoop in the air. The wind starts to whip my hair across my face and the waves become larger. It begins to rain hard, the rumble of the waves hitting the shore in full storm turns into the rumble of a diesel engine as I open my eyes realizing it is the sound of the trash truck at my neighbor’s house.
The hydraulic forks are dumping their trash bin into the back of the truck. I look out the window and see that I have forgotten to put the bin out by the curb. I run downstairs without my robe or slippers. Open the front door, grab the full trash bin and start rolling it down the driveway hoping that my neighbors had a double load this week, which will give me a few more seconds. Halfway there, the truck roars past and around the corner without slowing down. I turn around and drag the heavy bin back up the driveway.
In Jalisco, Mexico, the trash truck comes by three to four times a week, and you pay only a tip. The cowbell guys in our neighborhood also wear Santa hats during the Christmas season which I think is adorable (extra tip). In California, you pay a ridiculous amount per month, and the truck comes by only once a week. Of course in either scenario, it’s a good idea to have your trash already out there for them to pick up. Or maybe I should start waking up earlier? Nah!