A Trashy Love Story …though not the way you think…
I was in the back seat. Handsome had taken us up to the top of the huge hill that separates two cities, and we were driving along the ridge road. He had the back window cracked open just enough for my nose to stick out (but not my whole snout or head; while we dogs love to crane out fully from cars, it’s very dangerous for us: the whipping air around our sensitive ears can deafen us; little particles can fly into our eyes; and one stupid driver not paying enough attention could pass too close to us and… ooooooohhhh… let’s get back to my story!).
It was one of those beautiful mornings – a little fog just making everywhere look a touch magical, and making all the smells a bit stronger and fresher. Each curve of the road brought new views and scents. It was hard to tell which of us – Handsome or me – was enjoying it more.
Then this amazing thing happened. As the morning traffic slowed us down, I smelled something just astounding. A delicious mix of hundreds of smells, from food, from nature, from I didn’t even know what. And at the same time, I heard Handsome gasp.
“Check this out, Knucklehead! Look up in those trees, up to the right.” I looked to see what he was talking about, and saw some flickering of orange-yellow. (Okay, I’ll admit it – we dogs are color-blind. But Handsome said to me…) “You see those flickering lights? That’s the orange-yellow of the sunrise, reflecting off someone’s huge window. And the flicker is from us passing by the trees between it and us. Isn’t it just gorgeous?”
I have to admit – even without color, it was pretty cool. But I was more taken by the smells, which were getting stronger and stronger.
“Here, just around this bend, we should be able to see the house. I’m sure it’s a marvel of architecture, and it’ll be just…”
Handsome stopped talking.
“Oh. Oh well.”
It wasn’t a large window reflecting the sunrise at all. The flicker was from the warning lights of a garbage truck, behind those trees! Of course, that’s what I was smelling – and I was thrilled! Maybe we could stop and I could climb inside and find some great things to eat and…
He drove past it. And we both slumped. He was a little embarrassed over having mistaken what he’d seen, and disappointed that it was just a dumb old truck. And I was even more disappointed, because I wouldn’t get to indulge in those terrific smells, the same bummedness I feel when we pass by barbecue restaurants.
Then we got to the street he’d been heading for, and he parked the car between some empty rubbish bins. He got out and let me out, careful to keep hold of the leash in case a car or cat came by. And we started to walk down the sidewalk. I sniffed around, and he looked at the pretty, clean street, and we both breathed in more of that fresh clean morning air.
“You know, Shirelle, I was wrong, the way I thought about that truck. That truck is why this street is so clean. That truck keeps this place safe, where I can walk you and not worry that something someone threw out has gone bad and turned into poison. It’s why I’m not scared you’re going to find a rat that’ll bite you and give you a disease. It’s why the air’s so crisp and fresh. Garbage trucks are great. And the people who work them are heroes.”
And he was right. Would he have loved to see the glowing house he imagined? And would I have loved to have eaten all those smelly things? Sure. But this was even better. We had a bright beginning to our day, and knew we’d be healthy and ready for it.
Which was convenient, because what should come down the street, but the cutest, friendliest Labrador Retriever, being walked by a very lovely woman. Handsome stopped to talk with her, and they let us off our leashes to play and tumble around for a few minutes. Eventually, they called us back, everyone said goodbye, and he and I walked off.
But there was something different about him. He’d been in a good mood before, but now he seemed truly excited.
“Did you like that Lab, Shirelle? I hope so, because I think you two are going to meet again! That beautiful woman gave me her phone number! Can you believe it?!”
Now, dear reader, you know how we dogs are. When our human gets excited, we have no choice but to get excited too. I started running in circles around him, tying him up in my leash, and even tripped him onto the ground, but he was so happy he didn’t care. It was just the way he was back in the car, so excited about those flickering lights.
And it hit me – this really IS the same thing. Love is a lot of things, but one of them is… Love is a Garbage Truck!
When a person, say you, first gets interested in someone, you just see beauty and possibility. You don’t see the other person’s flaws yet, or if you do, they don’t think they matter. It’s like Handsome seeing the flickering lights, and me smelling those smells.
Then that high goes away, and you start to really see the reality – of that person’s flaws, and of how the dreams you had about the relationship might not be possible. Just like Handsome realizing the lights weren’t a beautiful home, and me realizing I wasn’t going to be allowed to jump into that beautiful trash.
But then, over time, if you’re open to it, you’ll start to see the real good of that other person. Their strengths, their heart, the ways they make your life better. Like what we realized about how the garbage collectors had made our world so much better.
Will Handsome ever actually talk with that woman? Will they fall in love? Will they learn things about each other they can’t stand? Will they then learn to appreciate more about each other than they ever imagined?
I have no idea. But I hope so.
All three stages are true and right, based on what we see at the time. That first explosion of love is wonderful, and no one should put it down. The realizations of reality are also important, and shouldn’t be ignored.
And when a relationship grows into true appreciation, that’s the most beautiful of all.
So open your heart, and your eyes. Get out there and meet new people, like some, love some, fall in love, learn too much, get hurt, get back up, love again, and find the loves that last. In other words, live!
And no matter how many times you’ve been hurt, don’t trash love to me.
Since I’m someone who just loves trash!