Dear Neighbor:

I’m sorry if I woke you or your kids up this morning when I rang the doorbell. I was just trying to make sure you got the bag of trash I left on your stoop. And I’m sorry if I raised my voice–we were talking over your intercom, and that inspired me to behave like someone making an international call who foolishly believes that yelling will help get my conversation over the Atlantic Ocean.

You might not be aware of this, but we’ve had a bit of a trash problem for some time now. In fact, we’ve had a trash problem since I moved in 18 months ago. People leave diapers in our bins, throw fast food leftovers on the asphalt, and leave gigantic black trash bags amongst our own garbage. After a quick survey of our apartment, we established that none of us have had a baby recently, and none of us use black trash bags. We’d suspected the culprits might live in your apartment, but our suspicions weren’t really confirmed until those jack-o-lantern leaf bags from your front stoop ended up in our trash cans shortly after Halloween. (We returned those to you, too–hope you got them back intact!)

I’m not trying to blame all the mess on you. I believed you when you said the people on the third floor have been dumping there, because I’ve often seen their small child dangling out the third floor window tossing packing material and mops in the general direction of our trash cans, and I’m just the kind of judgmental asshole who thinks that people who leave their remarkably foul-mouthed four year old unattended might be capable of ditching their trash in a neighbor’s cans. But I’m also the kind of asshole who reads, and the piece of mail on top of the bag I found this morning? That was addressed to your apartment, not the third floor.

You mentioned that your kids are the ones taking out the trash. I commend you for trying to instill a sense of personal responsibility in your children. It would be pretty awesome, though, if you could try to teach your kids a little bit about personal property, and show them the clearly posted sign on our gate where our address is written.

Look, I get it. There are a lot of people in your apartment complex, and that means a lot of trash every week. I’ve seen something like six cans in front of your door on trash day, with several loose bags besides. I’m sure it’s a hassle to get all those cans to the curb, and I realize our cans are just steps away from your door. But you don’t seem to realize that because we have an uncovered trash area right off the street, we already have to deal with random pedestrians tossing their refuse onto our back porch. And the last time my roommate went out there with rubber gloves and meticulously cleaned the area, it was back to looking like a dump the very next day. So you’ll forgive me if I get a little huffy when you suggest it’s our fault that the sidewalk we share sometimes looks like a pigsty.

Look, if you’re going to keep dumping in our cans, could you at least take out the trash more often so the bags aren’t so damn heavy? When they’re heavy they rip, and when they rip we get Froot Loops all over the sidewalk. And we don’t even eat Froot Loops.

Love,

Me

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