Earlier this week, I had to fly to New York for a meeting. It was an evening flight, so in the late afternoon I had stopped by my house to finish up some last-minute packing. As I stood over my suitcase, I was jolted by a loud crash and crunch from the outside.  Startled, I ran to the window to see the cause: my dad’s minivan was in my driveway with my recycling bin wedged firmly underneath his front bumper.

Apparently my dad – who lives close by and always exhibits a fatherly concern for my safety – had driven by my house and noticed my garage door was up. Now I did not feel that the state of the garage door was an immediate threat to my wellbeing, but my dad felt differently and he intended to use the garage door opener I gave him to lower it so as to protect me from any would-be intruders… you know the kind that enter your house in a crowded subdivision. In broad daylight. When it’s clear that you’re home.

However, the recycling bin under his van took precedent over protecting me from aforementioned daytime burglars, and instead of continuing up my driveway, he put the van in reverse in attempt to loosen the recycling bin. But the bin was wedged too tight under his bumper and just dragged across the pavement.  I wish I could better describe the unrelenting grating sound that occurs when a thick piece of damaged plastic is slowly dragged across asphalt, but I’m not sure there’s a suitable onomatopoeia.

But I’ll try: “Screeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaacrunch.”  Imagine nails-on-a-chalkboard, except like a much louder dub-step remix of it and you’ll get a sense of what I’m talking about.

Well anyway, if going backwards wasn’t helping, the next logical thing to try is to go forward and just drive right over it and crush it completely. I mean to hell with trying to salvage my bin, right? Wrong. I feel like I need to send my praise to the city’s Utilities Division, because this damn thing was durable: I watched as it was steamrolled and pulled under the tire. But instead of shaking loose once it had finished passing under the wheel, the plastic bin popped back up and was now completely stuck between the ground and the bottom of the car. At this point, it may as well have been hermetically sealed to the van, because that bin wasn’t going anywhere.

Clearly the only solution left was to pry the bin out from under the van, so I sprinted out of my house into the snowy driveway to help, leaving my coat and shoes inside in the haste. But prying the bin out from under the van was my solution; my dad had arrived at a different one: flee the scene of the crime.

This is the same man who – when we were vacationing in Niagra Falls – tore the bumper off a parked car and sped to where we were waiting to be picked up screaming “Getinthefuckingcar! Getinthefuckingcar!” and rocketed out of the parking lot like he was auditioning for the role of stunt driver in “Live Free or Die Hard”.  So, to be fair, I probably should have seen this coming.

But I didn’t, and instead I chased after him as he pulled out of the driveway and accelerated down the street.  I had never had the privilege of seeing a minivan go 0-60 prior to this, but I’m pretty sure my dad could have given Mario Andretti a run for his money. The good news is the speed worked and finally the recycling bin shattered, propelling shards of blue plastic everywhere. The bad news is my dad succeeded in his mission to shut the garage door. Yes, the garage door opener works from the street. This of course begs the question, why did he feel compelled to pull into the driveway in the first place? The world may never know.

So, there I am, standing in my socks without a coat, shut out of my house because my keys and cellphone are inside my coat pocket (the keypad on the garage door was out of batteries). I had to go to my neighbor’s (whom I had yet to meet) and convince them that I was not a transient and to let me borrow their phone.  I called my dad.

“Uh, you have to come back to my house and open the garage door. I came out to help you with the recycling bin and you closed the garage door behind me.”

“Oh. You saw that?” He asked sheepishly.

“Yes.” I responded. Then added, “You asshole.” I’m not sure how at any point during his four-minute symphony of grating plastic and asphalt he was under the impression that he had remained undetected. “I’m pretty sure the whole neighborhood saw you.”

“Okay, on my way!” He replied cheerfully and clearly unfazed. He’s awesome like that.

As they say, all’s well that ends well and he showed up to let me back in the house and even replaced my recycling bin… by switching it with my neighbor’s, because “they’ll never know that it was my bin he had run over and not theirs.” Well I guess he’s right. Unless they read your blog, in which case, I suspect they won’t be letting me borrow their phone again anytime soon.

Dale vs. The Recycling Bin. Dale ruins my recycling bin, so he steals the neighbor’s.

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