Monday, May 26, 2008

Trashing my neighbour

My neighbour, while fairly cute, is a procrastinator. Or maybe he's lazy. Or standard-issue stupid. I think I'll stick with stupid, because he's really pissing me off right now, and the only way I can excuse him is to think that he just doesn't realize that the bag of trash he left in the hallway outside his door isn't going to take itself to the curb.

I wouldn't be so passive-aggressive if this was his first offence, but it's not, and his sack of crap's been ripening there for five days now, which happens to be the exact number required to awaken the beast within me - the passive-aggressive ogre I lulled into a coma at the end of my last long-term relationship.

The silver lining is that it's not full of cat litter this time, that and he's not my boyfriend, but I still have to deal with his garbage. Deposited en route from my door to the building's main exit, the trash wafts its gnarly fumes into my nostrils several times daily. While I want it gone, there is no way in the hell that is paper-thin-walls-apartment-living, that I am going to get rid of it for him, because if he came to expect that from me, then I might have to kill him.

I don't want to risk starting a feud, and I despise confrontation, so I've decided to send an anonymous message that I'm not pleased with his contribution to our shared space, without outing myself as one of the building's few Anglophones. So, yesterday, under the cover of night, I drew a sad face on a piece of printer paper, and taped it to the bag. That'll teach him, I thought.

Honestly, I'd expected for him to take the hint and politely throw the bag out this morning, not push it to the center of the hallway, the sad face greeting me first thing today, which I read to mean, "It's on." So, this post is my unofficial, indirect, passive-aggressive warning to my jerk neighbour that, if the trash isn't gone by the end of today, I'll be taping an angry face to the bag tonight. Oh yeah.

11 comments:

wyliekat said...

Why not spice it up and add an angry finger to the angry face?

Kate said...

I have to admit, I was kinda looking forward to taping an "angry face" to the bag tonight, but alas, my hint was taken and the neighbour surrendered the trash bag to its curbside destiny. So, I guess, not only do I win this round, but I know how to handle it next time!

Student Teacher said...

I can see this passive-aggressive communication between you and your neighbor turning into a funny game. :)

Kate said...

Heh. Oh, yes. I've been brainstorming ways to draw "more-than-mere-anger faces" and ultimately, if he found my last straw, I thought duct taping his trash to his door would make him deal with it.

I'm guessing it'll take him another week to fill a new trash bag, so we'll see what happens then...

kirsten said...

I worked with a lass a couple of year's back, who flatted with her sister, and who told me that they had a silent mini-feud one time about who would take out the garbage. It was the height of summer. Neither of them wanted to give in. By the time they finally got around to dumping it (a week or two later), it was full of ... yup, maggots. So, um. If he does it again, taping your neighbour's garbage to his door (good and early) might be the way to go...

Kate Savage said...

Ew.

Ew.

Ew.

Bob Stein said...

My first thought was to work the identity-theft angle, print a Craigslist ad "Here are photos of people who leave trash conveniently outside their door where you can steal their identities without unsightly dumpster diving." But the proximity makes the backfire-risk of any aggressive approach unacceptable. So I'm leaning towards simple humour.

"Your ad could be here. Contact trashyads@google.com."

Or the more edgy, but still primarily silly, "C R I M E - S C E N E - please do not move this evidence until forensics can identify the mister stinky who keeps leaving it here."

Kate Savage said...

While those are all very good (and hilarious) ideas, he moved his garbage!

The reason I opted for a no-word approach this time is that I don't want him to figure out it's one of the English-speakers in my building. There are only a few of us.

So, if we can figure out how to say all the funny stuff you mentioned in some sort of universally understandable, symbolic way...SWEET!!!!

Thanks for commenting, by the way. The more vioced, the better.

Bob Stein said...

So we missed this chance. The next time he puts his trash on display, a campaign must be ready for immediate deployment.

You don't want to write a sign in French? There must be an ordinance by now: notes to neighbors shall be in French only. Ah but even if you translate the grammar perfectly, the humour might still seem English and tip you off.

Ok, no words. What's a left-brainer to do? Hmm, if we *could* come up with an internationally recognizable pictograph, something that says clearly "take care of your own trash so we don't have to smell it", imagine the applications...

By the way I call this "courtesy terrorism", improving the world's manners using tiny doses of strategic, anonymous fear. And I agree, the act must be crafted so as not to punish the messenger. This is an important challenge you have raised. The goal is to shame him with pictures:

pictograph 1
pictograph 2
pictograph 3

Or my favorite, a series of these taped to the walls, all the way from his trash to the curb:

pictograph 4

Kim said...

Epic romances (and a few Sandra Bullock movies) have begun in just this manner ;-)

Silly Sally said...

I would have done the duct tape to the door route over the sad face on the paper for sure. But I'm more aggressive than passive by nature ...