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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Writing a Letter (handwritten correspondence) (10/21/10)

TITLE: Talking Trash
By Barbara Lynn Culler


“Whrrrrrr…… Crash! Kaboom! Bang- bang –bang! I am awakened by this noise every Friday at 6:00 o’clock in the morning and my much needed beauty sleep has turned ugly!”

This is how I pen the opening line in my letter to the Trash Pickup Company.

My bedroom window faces a narrow residential street, and three times a week the trash truck settles in the middle of the road. The garbage workers exit the vehicle and wheel out fifteen green dumpsters from within the apartment complex. Then one by one, each dumpster is picked up by the truck, hoisted into the air and its contents gratingly dump into the roaring behemoth on wheels. The emptied containers are noisily aligned beneath my window.

The racket is tolerable on Mondays and Wednesdays because I leave for work at that time; however, Fridays are my only day to sleep in. By writing the letter with a light-hearted approach I hope a humorous take on the situation would encourage the garbage carriers to work elsewhere.

Back to the letter …

Dear Sanitation Company:

Whrrrrrr…… Crash! Kaboom! Bang- bang –bang!

Tapping the glittery pen on the kitchen table, and gazing into space, I ponder my next profound statement.

This cacophony of collected cans is the not so charming alarm I am awakened with every Friday at 6:00 o’clock in the morning.I have a lovely second floor view of your people hard at work, but do they really need to work so efficiently below my bedroom window?

The lilac perfume from the stationery makes me nauseous; along with the pretentious words. This is not what I really want to say, but I am trying to be nice.

Fridays are my only day to sleep in. Please have mercy, I desire sleep!
Thank you for your consideration on this manner.

Sincerely, Sleep deprived.

Inserting the letter into the matching purple flowered envelope, I seal it closed and secure it with a shiny flower sticker.

The following week I had this type written response:

Dear Sanitation Customer:
Thank you for your interest in this company. We work hard to guarantee customer satisfaction.
We will look into the matter of concern that you expressed.
For the next two weeks, we are having a sale of neon orange trash containers and we will engrave your address on them, free of charge. Please contact us at 1-800 GO ORNGE for your container today!

The morning trashcan concerto continues. I write another letter, but with less tongue-in cheek verbiage. This time I use plain white stationery to indicate my seriousness of the matter.

To the Sanitation Company:
I am not interested in your NEON ORANGE trash cans.

Well actually, if they were dumpsters made of rubber I might reconsider. But that is not why I write this letter.

I am requesting for you to stop doing your business below my bedroom window at six o’clock in the morning. Surely it is against the law to disturb the peace with the thunderous noises your company puts into practice. I beg of you-please move your worksite to another location.

My fingers are cramping from holding the black pen so tight

Signed: Exhausted.

Two weeks later, I receive this letter:

Dear Sanitation Customer:

Thank you for your interest in this company. We work hard to guarantee customer satisfaction.
We will look into the matter of concern that you expressed.
For the next two weeks, we are having a sale of neon orange trash containers and we will engrave your address on them, free of charge. Please contact us at 1-800 G0 ORNGE for your container today!

The dumpster disco dance continues. I give up.

Now, when Friday mornings arrive, I reach into my nightstand drawer, open a small package and insert florescent orange plugs into my ears. Fluffing my pillow,I turn over and return to blissful sleep.

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This article has been read 491 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 10/29/10
This was great! I chuckled throughout. The ending left me with a big smile. Nice job.
Colin Nielsen10/30/10
Loved it. Very original. Nothing I could see that actually needed red ink. Someone with more skill might be able to help.
Rachel Phelps10/30/10
This is so funny! Some of the phrasing felt a little off - or not in keeping with the delightfully quirky MC's voice. Overall, great creativity here!
Marita Thelander 10/30/10
How frustrating to lose sleep like that, yet garbage guys gotta do what garbage guys do. The ear plugs were the right solution.

red ink: To make things flow more natural and save word count, try to use contractions for things like I am (I'm).

I like the change from frilly to firm in the paper/ink choices. :)
Verna Cole Mitchell 10/30/10
Your personality is showing here...trying to be nice in getting your point across. I was not surprised to know they weren't even reading it. Your solution was a perfect ending for this clever piece.
AnneRene' Capp10/31/10
Very clever and original! Also, something every reader can relate to and therefore feel your plight right along with you while reading. You expressed much more patience then I would have! :)
Jan Ackerson 10/31/10
Very entertaining!
Nancy Sullivan 10/31/10
I love this! You showed the reality of "You can't fight City Hall." Very entertaining and true-to-life. Great job.
Connie Dixon10/31/10
Very creative take on the subject. I can relate to the timing of the trash company on my day off. Loved your title, good job.
Lyn Churchyard10/31/10
From the title to the fluffing of the pillow, this was great. Poor lady, I feel so sorry for her. Sweetness and light doesn't always work...then again, when dealing with bureaucracy, nothing usually does. Fun take on the topic Barb.
Carol Penhorwood 11/02/10
What a creative, entertaining "take" on this week's topic. You go, girl!
Caitlyn Meissner11/03/10
I loved this! What fun! The neon orange cans made me laugh, and I love how she ended up with neon orange earplugs instead. Great story!
Amanda Brogan11/03/10
Ha! Just like a company -- sending out identical letters no matter what the problem. (Of course, not all companies have such little regard for their customers, but I'm sure many act just like in this story ...)

Love the orange ear-plugs as a opposed to orange trash containers! :)

Awesome job with this one!
Catrina Bradley 11/03/10
Great read! I giggled when I read the 2nd letter from the trash company - identical to the first. (My husband sleeps with ear plugs in - he has a neon-orange stash in his nightstand drawer.) :)
Beth LaBuff 11/03/10
Oh, what a super take on the topic! This is a riot and I love how you got the phone numbers inserted in your entry! LOL!
Beth LaBuff 11/03/10
I think I just realized something. I have Skype on my computer, it has the phone numbers high-lighted with a little US flag at one side and another symbol at the other. I "thought" you put it in your entry, but now I think Skype transformed your numbers. :) It looks pretty cool!
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 11/04/10
Congratulations for placing 8th in level 1! This was one of my favorite stories this week :)
Rita Garcia11/08/10
The progression of the story is perfect. Love the ending solution, ear plugs are a good thing!