When i lived in the city, somebody always came once a week and emptied the dumpster. It just happened automatically. I didn’t contract them to do so. It was set in place long before i got there. When i moved to a smaller town outside the city limits, i suddenly realized two things. Firstly, I didn’t have a trash can. Secondly, there was no city to send city services from. I started to wonder what all my neighbors were doing with their trash. I asked some people who lived in my area how they got rid of their trash. They said the unlucky ones had to make a run to the landfill every so often and paid the landfill a pricey fee to take their trash from the minivan. I didn’t fancy riding all the way to the landfill with a car full of trash and forking over as much dough as they were describing to get rid of it. They told me that other people burned their trash. They would bury the tin cans and things that wouldn’t burn and dump everything else in a barrel and light it on fire. I didn’t fancy burnt plastic fumes drifting in through the window so i counted that idea out. Then they said, “if you can get ahold of IWS, they’re a private trash removal service. Its some guys with a pick up truck pulling a trailer. They’ll take 2 bags from each household and they’re way cheaper than the landfill.” So i called. I realized early on why the people who advised me to call them said “if you can get ahold of them…” it was pretty near impossible to get ahold of them. I always got the answering machine and they never rung me back. So, i made up my mind. I was going to find the time when my call would get through. I called every two hours (not at night…i’m not unreasonable) for about two weeks, even on the weekend days just in case that was the time my call would get through. Finally, the call picked up and i heard a woman’s voice on the other end of the line. I was so happy and so afraid the call would drop. I must have been shouting into the phone. I was talking so fast to get her as much information as i could before she disappeared. She said my area was indeed covered and if i wanted to get a spot on their route i could. She told me if i wanted i could think about it and call back later with my decision. I shouted, “no! No, i want to go ahead and schedule it. I’m sure. Let’s just do everything today.” She said, “okay, i can certainly help you with that.” I gave all my information over the phone. The woman told me i would have to go to home depot or lowes and purchase an outdoor trashcan. She gave me my pick-up day and time and told me to have the can visible for the guys at the curb by that time and they would take the bags and leave the empty trash can. I thanked her profusely and hung up. I went straight to lowes and purchased an outdoor trash can on wheels. I put it in my shed. Every trash day i rolled it out to the curb and every time i returned the trash was gone and the can was empty. I loved the service so much. It worked like clock work. I didn’t want anything to happen that would lose my spot on these guys’ route (some of my neighbors up the road lost their spot because the unpaved road became too treachurous for their trailer after all the rains). I began to notice the months tick by and i still hadn’t received a bill. I called and called and called until i reached a person. I asked them to make sure i was on the billing list because i loved the service and wanted them to get paid for their work (and keep me as a client). They put me on the billing list. I started receiving bills and all seemed well until i witnessed a woman empty a 6 pack of beer bottles and some take-out food (not in containers) into my trash can. I drove up as she was doing it. I got out of the car to ask her why she had done what i just watched her do. She rolled up the window, locked the car doors, and began making a series of phone calls while sitting in her car next to my trash can. She looked straight ahead and ignored my existence as i called, “excuse me…” when it became apparent i wasn’t leaving she put the phone down and drove off. I took down her license plate number but a soiled trash can wasn’t top priority on law enforcement’s list. I spent a good half hour cleaning the inside of my trash can and then, to add insult to injury, had to add her trash to my bag for the next week. Her stale beer and rotting food sat in my bag in my kitchen cabinet all week, as a reminder of why i enjoy the company of dogs over humans. She wouldn’t be the last to deposit things in my trash can. I thought it was raccoons i would most have to worry about but i was mistaken. Eventually it would drive me to install a surveillance system. Once that was in place, anyone who stuck their hand in the cookie jar (or in this case trash can) was on camera. I thought i was moving to the wilderness, but as i was learning, i was still civilization adjacent.