Friday, May 22, 2015

The Garbage Bag

When I first moved to my apartment complex I wasn't sure if it was the  most practical place to be for someone in a wheelchair. The Victorian windows were nice and you couldn't deny that it was both charming and quiet as well as close to everything Downtown. At the same before I moved in I had to go around the complex to get to the only path in and out if I didn't want to try my luck going down a few steps or falling from a sidewalk. It was surrounded by cobblestone streets my wheels would only get stuck on. Even to get to the trash you'd have to get over a big step. But- the management was very accommodating and eager to win me over.  That first week they build me a new ramp, right by my unit at the time- later they've put in a concrete path across the grass courtyard - and they offered to have one of the maintenance techs pick up the garbage bag from my door if I left it out early in the morning. No big deal, right? Until it starts to be. I switched my units twice since then- from a studio to a more spacious one bedroom and then to a bigger bedroom with what they call a bay window and what feels a bit like a fishbowl and gives you much more light. Since then, property managers changed a few times and the maintenance team had seen an even greater rotation. Not all of them knew and remembered to check if there was a trash bag waiting by my door. When I renewed my lease a few months ago it was one of the main issues I brought up with the property manager. I said I wasn't sure if I still wanted to be there, but that one of the selling points for me was that I had someone there that would take my trash, change my airfilter and light bulbs, things that tenants do themselves but are difficult for me to do for obvious reasons. I also pointed out that since I switched my unit the trash pick up stopped. It was possibly due to the fact my current apartment  might not be as visible from the outside, it has a little hallway of sorts and the door is the last one on the floor and a bit to the inside of the building. We talked, I signed on and the problem disappeared. And yes I had a visiting friend pick up my trash a few times as well. Until this week.  On Sunday evening I left the bag like I usually would. I was quite surprised when I saw it again Monday morning. It was a pretty big bag to navigate around as I was cleaning my apartment - that's why I couldn't really grab it myself- but I didn't really think of it then. Maybe they forgot or didn't have time to get to it. I was more surprised when I saw it again Tuesday morning. At some point I emailed my property manager just to remind her. Turns out she didn't manage my property anymore. Someone I'e never met and who never heard of me replaced her. Having to deal with this suddenly became stressful, so I called one of my friends asking if he could pick it up. He said he would on the way from the bar, but then didn't. With the bad news from home about my grandmother's health and everybody's bracing for the worst and my dad'd follow up heart surgery I really didn't need to deal with figuring out how to deal with this. Wednesday morning the bag is still there, my friend forgot. I'm imagining myself trying to hold it with one hand and wheeling myself wit the other. I don't know if I can get across the street to the trash cam one one side of my complex or if I can roll up the ramps to get to the one on the other if I can't use both hands and have to stop mid way to pull the generously loaded bag behind me. Had I known I would have divided it up or used the small plastic shopping bags I can hang from the back of my chair. The Memorial Day Weekend was coming. Most of my friends are out of town, no one I can really ask for help  I'm worried about home and my mom and on top of it all this situation is making me feel pretty worthless. Like one garbage bag is derailing my independence. It was still there Wednesday night. I said to myself I will deal with it on Thursday. If I walked I'd just grab it and go, but all of a sudden this became a big production. And I did feel abandoned and forgotten with all of this in the process. A friend I asked for help before texted "Sorry" and I still had a garbage bag to deal with- I never anticipated it would become an issue. That's the thing about being in a wheelchair I guess - all those small things you never sweat about if you walk can trip you up. Luckily somebody picked it up on Thursday. I don't know who and when. Maybe the ex manager passed the word on. All I know is when I opened the door Thursday morning, the dreaded bag wasn't there. And that's all I wanted.


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