Love thy neighbor, show love for your Homeless neighbor, Muslim neighbor, Black neighbor, Gay, Jewish, White, Christian, Atheist, Racist, Addicted and of course your crazy garbage bin stealing neighbor. No Joke my “City Owned” garbage can was stolen by my neighbor. There are couple of things that I want to point out before I get into the meat of the story. 1) We don’t actually own the Garbage bins they are provided by the City. 2) The City will replace your garbage bin if it is lost or stolen at no charge. 3) Your garbage bin can be replaced in a couple of days by calling the City Hotline 4) The city will continue to pick up your household garbage even if you don’t have a bin. So with these facts in mind – Let’s get right into it.

It all started on what seemed like a regular Friday Morning – Garbage Day in the hood. The sun was just starting to turn the surrounding darkness into what would seem like endless blue prairie skies; it appeared to be a start of a beautiful day. Despite the slight smells of decay and rot emitting from the surrounding neighborhood trash cans, everything was joyous as most other Friday mornings. We were late as usual, so I quickly positioned our recycling bin and garbage bin neatly at the back of our detached garage. Even today I could paint a perfect picture of it (The Black Garbage Bin), right up to the generic City of Calgary logo plastered on the side, the sun worn area where our address should have been and one fact that still remains clear is that my black garbage bin looked exactly like every other black, for all intensive purposes these bad boys are exactly the same – despite there location directly behind the house that they belong.

So there it was MY black garbage bin in all its glory waiting to fulfill its purpose on this beautiful Friday morning and I remember it like it was only a few days ago… well because it was.

And we were off. At this point I would assume that all was well with the garbage situation. I really had no reason to be concerned considering we have had 100’s of garbage pick ups using this same black bin for years without incident. Until this Friday when “Our garbage bin went missing”. At first I was in denial it made no sense. Where was my garbage bin? I was numb. I felt violated. How could someone steal our garbage bin? How was I going to get my garbage to the curb without a bin? Should I consider recycling more? Extreme composting? And then my denial turned into anger. Did someone steal my garbage bin? Why would someone do that? Did the garbage men kick it down the block? Where did my BIN go?

I took a quick look down the back alley and noticed the neat rows of paired blue and black bins at all the neighbors houses and came to the final conclusion that our garbage bin was gone. It was sad to see our blue bin sitting there pathetic like without its black partner but it was futile to grieve any longer it was time to accept the finality of the situation. At this point I had to tell my wife the bad news. She laughed and said that the most likely reason was that the bin fell off the automated hook system and ended up inside the garbage truck and our beloved bin was on its way to the landfill. This is logical. Considering these bins are provided by the city at no charge – Why would someone steal another persons bin? So it was decided that the bin had not been stolen but instead had experienced an unfortunate ending and was now headed to its final resting place in the back of a city garbage truck.


A quick call to 311 and a nice lady named Jennifer with a slight southern twang promised me a replacement bin in the next 24-48 hours. I asked if the black bins go missing often. Jen replied with a quick yes, but not often, but it does happen and then thanked me for calling the Cities 311 service. That was easy – 30 seconds later and no charge we were back in business. Two garbage accumulating days later our new black bin arrived and we were once set up to conveniently transport our trash to the back alley. Once again we had a complete pair. One blue bin and One black bin just like our neighbors.

Everything was good, back to garbage normalcy. It was Monday. The sun was out and blazing like the giant ball of fiery gas that it is. A pudgy white cat stopped and took a long stare in my direction and then sauntered off completely indifferent to my presence. Today was another good day, we had booked a cabinet install for this morning after waiting almost three years – not for the appointment but to save up the required pesos to have the last piece of cabinetry installed to complete our kitchen. Nearing the end of the install our cabinet guy was making the final cuts to our cabinets at the front of our house. Our neighbor from a few doors down approached him and asked him if he lived at the house he was working in front of. The cabinet guy of course said “No”. Then our neighbor proceeded to explain in great detail to our cabinet installer – how the people that lived in the house “stole his garbage bin”.

That’s right folks our neighbor is telling a person he has never seen before, a complete stranger that we the owners of the house stole his garbage bin. The neighbor then proceeded to tell our installer that he knows that we stole his garbage bin because his went missing on Friday. And instead of doing the logical thing and calling for a replacement, he inspected each bin down the alleyway. And by doing this unauthorized garbage inspection, he could tell. HE COULD TELL from the inside of our bin, that our bin was actually his. He is an ex-cop and he knows. Really? Did our neighbor just say that? It appears that the inside of a nasty old garbage bin has characteristics that are distinguishable from other nasty old garbage bins. Maybe an old piece of pizza crust jammed in between the hinge was the tell. Our maybe it is was the smell…. must have been the smell. So the neighbor told the whole story to our installer on how he “Stole” back what was rightfully his. The neighbor then finished off with the classic they were just getting what they deserved, considering they were the ones who had stole his bin FIRST! Wow… just wow.

And that’s pretty much it. The story of how I found out that our garbage bin wasn’t just missing it was actually stolen. Stolen by our batshit crazy garbage bin stealing ex cop of a neighbor. I’m not a religious man by any means but Mark 12:31 has kept me calm in these moments of neighborhood insanity – “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF” – Thank you Jesus! Crime is running rampant down here in the burbs. Protect your bin, you might be the next victim.


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