The Curious Case of the Garbage Gnomes

July 20, 2011

It’s a well known fact that almost every neighborhood in my area has garbage gnomes.

You know– the mystical little creatures that emerge sometime between the time you put your garbage out at night and the time the garbage man comes in the morning.

They are known to flip the lid open on your recycling bins and unabashedly rummage through the contents, looking for any precious bottles and cans that might get them a few extra bucks at the recycling center at the local grocery store.

Sometimes you can catch a glimpse of them if you are up late at night. But usually, they stick to the shadows and don’t really show their faces. You only know you’ve been struck by the garbage gnomes when you find your recycling bin devoid of your past week’s beer and wine bottles.

Normally, this doesn’t bother me. I mean, I’m way too lazy to ever redeem my bottles and cans for the 5 cents they are worth, so I’m glad someone is making good use of them.

But last week, the gnomes took it to a whole new level.

Let me back track.

With my official moving date looming on the horizon,I’ve started the arduous task of cleaning and going through the 4 years of stuff that has accumulated in my apartment.

Unfortunately, my current apartment has all kinds of nooks and crannies for me to store stuff in.

An office. Several closets. A three season porch. A pantry. (Yes…I store stuff in the pantry. Leave me alone.)

So, needless to say, I’ve got a lot of crap to get rid of.

I started this process last Sunday by tackling the office.

(You’re a fool in thinking we actually use the office as a functional space. It’s more like a catch-all, I-might-want-this-someday-but-not-right-now, this-is-where-Lindsay-is-storing-all-her-new-stuff-for-her-new-place-that-nobody-can-use, just-about-the-only-thing-we-can-do-in-here-is-iron room.)

A while ago, I had gotten a few new pictures for my bedroom and not too long ago, I also got some new pillows for my bed. I had also cleaned out my closet, and discovered a few old pairs of shoes that had either far exceeded their life, or were legit broken.

And, instead of throwing all the old stuff away then, I stuffed it in the office.

Out of sight, out of mind, right?

Alas, the time had come for me to finally face my hoarding tendencies (who keeps old bed pillows….really? That’s gross.), and to just get rid of it all.

And I did. About 5 or 6 garbage bags later, the office was looking a little less cluttered and I was feeling like a f*cking cleaning champion.

But that’s not where the story ends. Oh no, my friends. This is where the story begins.

Luckily, the night after my frantic clean and purge was garbage night. In keeping with my new-found purging tendencies, I diligently hauled my discarded items down to the sidewalk, leaving them (I thought) for the garbage man to tote away the next morning.

I had about two garbage cans full of stuff from the office. And keep in mind, in addition to that stuff was a few bags of actual garbage to go along with it.

After I had put the actual garbage into the trash cans, I put the pillows and old broken shoes in the bin ON TOP of the nasty bags filled with the remnants of my dinners from the past week.

The bins were a little stuffed, so the lid didn’t fit securely on top. So, I merely rested the lid on top of the pillows and shoes, in an effort to keep at least some nocturnal animals from rummaging around in there while I was asleep.

I then leaned the two pictures I didn’t want anymore against the trash cans, and thought nothing more of it.

Fast forward about 2 hours later. I returned home from my Weight Watchers meeting and what do you know?

The pictures were gone.

I mean, I guess I could kind of rationalize someone seeing them and taking them.

They were both in a frame. Both were in pretty good shape. Kind of college-y looking to me, but hey, who am I to judge?

I personally would never take pictures that were obviously being thrown out from an unknown person’s house, but to each his own right?

So, I went inside, and relayed this funny little fact to my roommate.

“Haha, someone totally stole my pictures from the garbage! Isn’t that kind of gross?”

“Well, at least they didn’t take the pillows,” she said, “Because that would be just straight up nasty.”

“Ewww, right?? Nooo, nobody would ever steal old used pillows that are in a trash can laying on top of actual garbage!” I said.

7 am the next morning.

I leave my apartment to go to work.

I walk by the trash cans I put out the night before. And I immediately notice…

The lids are off. And the pillows. Are. Gone.

The gnomes had come and stolen the pillows I had put in the trash can on top of the garbage.

I did a quick scan of the area, but no gnomes were in sight.

All that hung in the air was the vague feeling that I was being watched.

I’d like to think the gnomes in Gnomeville were experiencing some sort of epic pillow shortage that had led them in vain to my trash can. Because, if that’s the case, I’m happy to have helped them out.

I can’t even wrap my brain around any other reason my pillows got stolen out of the garbage, so that’s what I’m going to go with.

Happy slumbering Garbage Gnomes. I’m glad my pillows have found a new home.

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One Response to “The Curious Case of the Garbage Gnomes”

  1. DAD Says:

    Well, maybe the gnomes have realized, like the garbagemen, business is “picking up”


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