A first time for everything

A first time for everything

Yesterday was the day I persuaded a Frenchman to get into a dumpster. Well, not right inside, but definitely half way in. I was surprised by how up for it he was, really.

Here’s what happened. Because, unlike most of the residents in our complex, I am not too posh to carry my recycling to the dumpsters outside, I was doing just that. However, I also had a bag of rubbish, although there are dumpsters for rubbish in our complex. As I flung the rubbish in the stinking summer garbage, the plastic handle on the bag got caught on my keys. Yes, you guessed it; in they went with the rubbish.

Usually a fan of expletives, I surprised myself by simply wailing, “Noooooo!” I pushed my foot on the leaver to lift the lid; several huge flies buzzed up at me, ugh! However, I could just see my keys, almost within reach, the key still caught around the bag’s handle. If I could just lift the bag, I could grab my keys. Or cause them to completely disappear from view, deeper into the rubbish. Hmph.

At just under 5’3″, my eyes can only just see over the top and into the dumpster- if I stand on my tiptoes. Normally, people leave an assortment of things on the street by the recycling point: boxes and other things that I could stand on for a bit of height. Alas, the gypsies who regularly cycle by and collect scrap must have taken anything I could have climbed up on.

And this is where the Frenchman appears in the story. There are several porters who work in our building, and one of them is French. He is our favourite; always chatting and joking with us and making a point of using English when anyone else is within earshot. He was my only hope. “Javi, I have a problem,” I begin in Spanish, “my keys are in the rubbish!” Javi breaks off from pruning the plants, bringing the secateurs with him. After showing him the problem, he instructs me to stand guard by the dumpster with the secateurs while he fetches a stepladder. I thank the goddess that nobody else wants to do their recycling at this precise hour.

Javi returns with the stepladder, chatting away on his mobile. I overhear, “Getting keys out of the rubbish for a very nice English girl.” I open the dumpster, flies buzz in front of our faces and Javi climbs up and hangs down head first to grab my keys. I feel really bad as I look at his smart-casual, clean clothes as he reaches in, but I am delighted that at least the dumpster wasn’t full. Javi hands me my keys and I am filled with gratitude.

If we didn’t already love Javi, we think he’s even more awesome now. Fishing the keys of foreigners out of the rubbish is definitely not in his job description! Today we bought him some special biscuits from Yorkshire in El Corte Ingles to say thank you. He was reluctant to accept them, perhaps because they were from the dark side of the Pennines 😉

As I was recounting this ridiculous tale to one of my new friends, she observed, “These things seem to just happen to you, don’t they?” Well, I guess you could say that. I mean, there was the time I managed to get a nectarine stone irretrievably jammed in the toaster…




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