Alright Already

excuses reasons
excuse this reasoned excuse

Sorry about that hiatus. I didn't mean to do that.

Okay, well—we live in a town called Brunswick, Maine. Everybody must know this by now. We've been in Maine for 5.3 lonely years, and we'd like to change all of that soon. As we shovel from yesterday's wintry deposit, we're preparing for tonight's installment. I've grown somewhat bitter about all, albeit in a wholesome and jesty way (e.g, people that like it here are referred to now as Snow Humpers.)

How did we get here? Why, maybe? Well, we really didn't see ourselves as having anywhere else to go, and I'll write more about that disastrous chapter someday soon.

We made a decision in August of 2008 to purchase a home, just before everything in the area collapsed economically. I had left my stable position at a Crisis-Stabilization Unit for other work (which appeared at that time to be both lucrative and abundantly forthcoming). Most important was that the house was smack in the middle of a village. A flaaaaaat village. With all amenities in near-obnoxious proximity. This would enable us to perform various errands without suffering beholden to the vagaries of vehicles, which was (and remains) truly amazing (Molly has never been [and doesn't want to be] licensed to drive; I have all of those health problems that, legally speaking, should preclude my driving [but really, any moron could be like
F P. 
T O Z. 
L P E D." 
when given a vision test]). I do declare. 
At any rate, here's our house (even though it looks like a lengthy link):

Due to the continual good graces of loved ones, we have managed to eke something approaching survival out of the swirling completeness of atrophy entropy dystrophy that's about as much a part of our dayafterday as Nitrogen is of air. We're poor, and have largely been just hanging on, and that is no secret. Corners are cut (if not ignored) wherever possible, and I pray that my continued diligence in finding viable work will lead to more-promising pastures (this has already begun to happen, but I'll probably address that later). Every expense for us has been a source of discomfort. Abysmal and/or dismal, truly—I could very easily go on and on about how this doesn't feel like actual life and what's the point anyhow, but I'd much rather not do that, especially when there are such good stories to share, and especially when impecunity dovetails so neatly into the first of them:

Because of our propitious in-town location, I've seen fit to forgo the $1-per-bag weekly trash service pickup, discarding our refuse instead in nearby municipal and/or commercial facilities. I justify the questionable ethics by stating indignantly that it's a quality-of-life issue for all involved. (Actually, it's just poverty.) This was a veritable boon for some time (years, actually), saving us untold dozens of dollars that we could splurge flagrantly on utilities. To wit, it's a rather popular strategy, judging by the mongrel assortment of bags and items in said dumpster. (To everyone's credit, cardboard is separated from other waste and deposited into a different bin.)

Then, two Sundays ago, a police car pulled into our driveway for unknown reasons. My first thought was that it regarded the family's vehicle. I have a car, purchased quite inexpensively from a wonderful and generous friend whom we've yet to pay (it's been over a year, but we're awaiting our tax returns), whose registration (not in my name) is 5-months expired (and whose certificate met a Desmond-oriented demise at some point early last year), and whose inspection lapsed last spring. (At least I have insurance.) So, I thought that I would justly be taken away and flogged or what have you. But this occasion was altogether different.

COP: Benjamin... Gallagher?

ME: Gallaher, yes. That's me.

COP: This is 17 Everett Street?

ME: Yes it is.

COP: And Molly FitzGerald—where is she?

ME: Oh, she's with our baby at the moment; can I help you?

COP (produces crumpled-up household bills): Well, Rite Aid wants you to have these back. Have you been dumping your trash into Rite Aid's dumpster?

ME: Only sometimes. I like to spice it up a bit. Being right downtown, I figured that it was all okay. Nowhere is it posted that that dumpster is Rite-Aid property!

COP: Sir, that's considered to be Theft of Services, and it's a crime.

ME: Really? Even trash that we create when we're walking around? Or diaper trash?

COP: Uh, you'd better use your own trash can. Just don't do this anymore.

I deserved this. Well, I actually deserved far worse. Anyhow, my family has not permitted me to forget this unglamorous incident (although, to be fair, it is pretty recent). In quieter moments (which are few), I have sometimes mused about which is more disturbing—the fact that they searched through small bags of post-toddler waste to find "the culprit," or the fact that I was sufficiently thoughtless to discard my bills thus.

None of this changes that it's haunted me since. I am asked to declare the presence of trash (to Molly) before walking anywhere. And Desmond, who's variously astounding, created a painting, which is not news. The painting, though, is a rendering of the dumpster behind Rite Aid:

Note the yellow toward the bottom of the painting. Evidently, it is text. That text serves to notify passersby: 

"Pops is not allowed to put diapers and trash into the Rite Aid trashcans."

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