At the mercy of the garbage collector1This morning I was walking in the airport, at TWA. I took a bottle of water with me and I put it on one of the red seats. At that hour, nobody was there, nobody! Every round I would come and drink a little and then go on. I am supposed to do six rounds and a little more.
After my fourth round, I saw that my water bottle was missing. Then 20 metres ahead of me, I saw that a dark-skinned, fat lady was holding the water bottle. She was the garbage collector.
I screamed, "Oi! Oi! My water, my water!" I began walking very fast towards her. I was practically running. She saw me approaching and then she deliberately threw my bottle into the garbage bin, the one on wheels that they move around with them.
I said, "What have you done? I was screaming! Did you not hear me?"
She said, "Yes, I heard you, but it was too late."
"You were holding it. I was screaming, 'My water!' and you heard me. You were even facing me. You saw that I was coming. How could you throw it away?"
She said, "It is too late." She was saying it the way the police do when they give tickets.
I became disgusted. I said, "Thank you very much."
Then she had to tell me, "Do not be so sercastic." I said, "Sercastic? What is sercastic?"
She said again, "Do not be so sercastic." Instead of saying 'sarcastic', she was saying 'sercastic'.
I said, "I shall give you one hundred dollars if you can spell the word correctly—one hundred dollars!" So she started: "S-r-…" I interrupted her, "That is great! Forget about it."
Then I went away and walked one more round. When I came back to the place, she was still standing there. She said to me, "I am sorry."
I said, "You are sorry?" I had in my pocket a ten dollar bill. I said, "Take it. You are sorry."
She gladly took my ten dollar bill.
Then I continued, "Please do not do this kind of thing. You saw me, you heard me. And still you threw my water in the bin." The bin was full of such dirty, filthy things. I could see my water bottle right on the top. But how could I take it and drink it? Luckily she did not bring it out and give it to me. She did not do that. She knew that I would not take it.
She said to me, "I am sorry," so I gave her ten dollars and she took it very gladly. If she had not seen me, she could have thrown the water away. But she saw me not even 20 metres away. I was screaming!
WCB 77. 12 October 1998↩