I just apologized to a couple of dumpster diggers, garbage pickers, whatever. I went downstairs from my fourth floor luxury double-entry condo bearing two bags of human refuse (including uneaten, probably still good food -- I'm going out of town and who wants to come home to old food in the fridge) and a stinky bag of used cat litter. I heard them before I came around the corner of the white pickety fence aesthetically enclosing our unsightly green dumpster. I briefly hoped no one was peeing and made the turn to find a man standing at the side door, rooting around in my neighbors' trash.
"Excuse me," I said. Politely. "Excuse me." He looked up, irritated. He was, of course, ignoring me, wondering why I didn't return the courtesy. "I didn't want to..." I don't know what. I couldn't say "I didn't want to toss my stinky garbage on your head." Yet, neither could I, apparently, say, "I didn't want to disturb you." But I didn't.
His female partner, unseen on the other side of the dumpster, snorted. He, kindly, said, "Go ahead, just toss it in."
"I'm sorry," I said. Awkward.
I walked back to my building, punched in my security code, took the elevator upstairs, and grabbed my redeemable bottles and cans to take back down to them.
Of course, they were gone by the time I got back. Either they'd gotten anything valuable out and moved on, or, they figured I'd do what the sign said I'd do -- call the police. I set the about $3 worth of aluminum and plastic in a couple of bags outside the recycling bin. Someone will come by and collect it and cash it in. I wish I'd told them I was coming back, or asked them... something.
I hate living in this neighborhood because I do it so poorly.