The Garbage Caper

5 Sep

Let me begin with this: I’m guilty.

Cortona has gone to great lengths to set out a garbage collection schedule – specific bag colors for various items and specific collection days. Every homeowner pays for this service and we abide by the rules.


Tuesday is a recyclable plastic day, so this morning we put our small yellow plastic bag on our door stoop. It is usually picked up in the morning, but when we returned after lunch, it was still there. Occasionally ours is missed as we are higher up the street and around a bit of a curve, but I noticed there were still many yellow bags in front of our nearest neighbor about 20 steps below.

Thinking I would save the garbage collectors from climbing up the hill, I added our small bag to the neighbors’ stoop. Theirs is a complex with several units, thus more yellow bags. Little did I know the garbage guards were on duty!

About two hours later, I imagine after they had conferred and devised my punishment, I heard a bang outside our door. What I found was a large red broken plastic bowl with a 5 gallon empty plastic container inside. Thinking this strange, I looked down the street and saw a man standing in front of the complex gate. 

“What is this?” I asked in Italian. “I don’t want your garbage,” I said nicely but firmly. He sort of shrugged and feigned ignorance, so I looked up the hill and asked some kids who did this. They pointed and said “They did!”

Apparently, after “dropping” this on our doorstep, the feisty elderly ladies, yes those with the socks around their ankles who hang out kitchen windows, hurried inside their gate, leaving the man alone to cover for them. One of them emerged and said, “It’s yours!” I answered that it was not, and then she said as she produced my small yellow bag, “Well, this is!”

Yes it is, I acknowledged, and explained that I was merely trying to save the garbage collectors a few steps. (It’s not as if empty water bottles smell!)

As for their reaction, I do think the garbage patrol was a bit surprised at my Italian. Chalk one up for studying! But as my Mom would always say, “No good deed goes unpunished.” And so the story goes.

Looking down at their entrance, I could see that their bags had been picked up but that they had actually kept mine so it would not. I put it back on my stoop.



As I returned to my door, I gave a thumbs up to the kids up the hill. They smiled and nodded. 

Moral of the story, when you travel, remember to not only mind your Ps and Qs, but be sure you are aware of the garbage rules!






12 Responses to “The Garbage Caper”

  1. Sandy Holswade September 5, 2017 at 12:19 PM #


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann Frierson September 5, 2017 at 12:40 PM #

    Judy, that is so funny. I hope to be there on the 18th, and I will be very careful during my month!!!!! Ciao, Ann Frierson

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly September 6, 2017 at 9:01 AM #

      Looking forward to seeing you…perhaps a new course at the U?


  3. karenincalabria September 5, 2017 at 12:48 PM #

    Interesting story. I can only imagine what they must have thought when they saw you putting your recyclables in front of their house. Not knowing you and not imagining that there could be someone whose only interest was to help the job get done, they figured you for the pazza sporcaccione. Or maybe you were giving them some sort of foreign malocchio!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Patricia Hughes September 5, 2017 at 1:32 PM #

    You really made me laugh but having lived there for so long I can well believe it!
    Glad the very best of your Italian came out at the right moment. Well done!
    See you soon. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Royce Larsen September 5, 2017 at 10:56 PM #

    Once again, a good education pays off
    No matter what the circumstances
    Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  6. jeanfromcalifornia September 6, 2017 at 7:44 PM #

    Hmmm I had better check with Paola to make sure our garbage is correct. Only encountered garbage inspectors in Toronto – but that may have been because at that time it was the largest Italian speaking city in the world outside of Rome. 😉


  7. vstrode September 10, 2017 at 11:42 AM #

    Beautiful blog! I just started mine 🙂 I also live in Italy. Sometimes they are the most unexpected things that trip us up!


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