The Mysterious Incident with the Recycling Man

I don’t know why this day is turning out to be so bloody screwed-up.. but things are just getting crazy every second.

Some examples:
1. My two goldfish (Itchy and Scratchy) refuse to eat. This, to which any fish-owner will attest, is not normal. I’m having pessimistic thoughts about their future now – like are they going to be flushed down the Big Toilet Bowl up there – the second floor bathroom – soon?

2. My newspaper arrived wet. No car in the porch to shield the paper as it lands so this time it was open to the elements. And the elements decided to be merciless today.

3. It took me 10 minutes to get a satisfactory connection to the Internet. OK, so maybe that’s not so strange. But on a day like this, it counts.

Finally, the recycling macha. As per his usual custom, he putters up to the house on his motorbike and rings the bell. The maid goes out to let him in so he can pick up the newspapers out on the porch, do some mysterious calculations inside his head, and hand the maid the paltry sum he figures is our due. (The real mystery is why we never complain…)

Except this time, there was one difference. As I hear the gates being unlocked, I realize that I needed an article in last week’s paper for some research purpose. Of course, knowing our super-efficient maid, it would have already made its way to the old newspaper pile outside – the very pile now being gingerly handled by the recycling man.

No problem, methinks. I’ll just quickly go and ask him if I can retrieve that one paper.

Which I do. And he says, “Boleh..” So I’m quickly going through the pile and, luck being on my side for the first time today, I find it and pull it out. The recycling man says, “Sudah dapat?”

“Sudah.. banyak thanks-lah, boss!”, I reply, and we shake hands, like we’ve just sealed a multi-million ringgit deal.

And he carries the pile of newspapers (seemingly effortlessly for an old man) on his shoulders and heads for his bike, where he ties the papers with string, kickstarts his bike, and with a wave, disappears down the road.

That’s when I realize that, when I shook hands with him, I placed the newspaper I had picked out back on the pile – the very pile he had carried off with him into the great unknown.

OK, so it wasn’t exactly the Recycling Man’s fault – but on a day like this, everything counts.