I only know to put out my garbage because, when I get up on the morning the garbage and recycling trucks pass, my neighbors have their containers out already. I suspect I'm not the only one who lives in this sort of blistful, sheep-like state of ignorance. I'm betting many of my neighbors live in this state as well. After all, we all live in the same neighborhood.
I can imagine one day when this person won't initiate this chain reaction. (S)He'll be out of town or have a head cold or maybe just be un-American enough not have produced enough trash to make it worthwhile to put the cans out for the week. And if/when that happens, all the neighbors will look out their windows and see nothing on the curb. We'll all wonder, "Hey, isn't it about time for the garbage and recycling guys to come?" But we will all have missed the signal because it never came.
And later that day the garbage truck will roll down the street to find there are no cans waiting at the curbs. The crew will think to themselves, "Hey, wait a minute. Did I come on the wrong day?" They'll call the recycling truck crew back at the station and tell them not to swing by because, seriously, there's nothing for them to do on our street either. They'll all wonder what's going on. Did aliens come and abduct a whole block of this quiet (except for the neighbor's rooster) neighborhood?
They'll call in the police who will, of course, know from their secret orders that they should not enter what is to become a restricted area. Instead, they should immediately contact the special number inside the sealed envelope in the locked box beneath the dispatcher's desk. She will phone the secret branch of that shadowy agency that has no name (because it's just that secret) and tell them that (and this is per the secret instructions), "The black dog runs at night."
The official on the other end of the line will acknowledge the pass code and a top secret plan will spring into action from what was heretofore only a hypothetical scenario that sprang from the worst nightmares of game theorists and paranoid schizophrenics in the employ of our government.
As my neighbors and I return home from work that afternoon, we'll find that our entire block has been cordoned off by men in protective gear who will have encircled the area with a giant tarp resistant to x-rays, gamma rays, cosmic ray, and airborne particulates down to four nanometers in diameter. A startled offical will rush up to my car and order me to halt (although he'll have to repeat himself a couple of times to make himself understood because this same material is also resistant to consonants).
He'll ask why I'm trying to enter this restricted area. I'll explain that is my home, but he won't believe me. He'll point to the curb and say, "No one lives on this block. They were all abducted by aliens last night, so who are you?" There will be accusations that I'm a shape-shifter who has altered my appearance to infiltrate middle class society, and I will have to admit that, yes, I *am* wearing a tie today, but I do that most days even though it really isn't my style.
He'll point to the empty curb as evidence that no one has occupied these houses for some time. Obviously these residents would have put their garbage out this morning, and I'll say, yes, we do put the cans out, but I guess I didn't put mine out because no one had theirs out.
This conversation will be repeated between the official in the increasingly fogged over protective suit and each of my neighbors as they arrive home... except for one. In the end, one house will not have been accounted for. The team of investigators from Area 51 will finally narrow their search down to that one house from which that one neighbor always is the first to emerge to put his/her cans on the curb, but who overslept this morning.
And that is the story of how I (will someday have) finally figured out the one person who actually remembers when garbage day is.
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