Wednesday, April 07, 2004

One garbage day, I woke to the sound of the truck in our cul-de-sac, and the illuminating realization that the crab shells sitting in the garage were getting pretty ripe. I threw on a sweat shirt, a pair of pants, and my shoes, dashed to the garage, twisted closed the can liner, hit the garage door opener, and wheeled the can out the door, still a little stunned from the fumes of crab and cat litter.

Too late. The truck had already departed our block.

The air outside was a fresh antidote to the previous olfactory assault. The sun lightened the sky from behind the horizon, leaving the world still crisp and new. I heard the truck in the distance.

I wheeled the roll can down to the end of our block, around the corner and up the street with a quick step. Good fortune! None of my neighbors were up to see I still had my hair in the sloppy topknot I sleep in. And I spotted the truck at the end of the next cul de sac.

I crossed the street, and stood with my garbage in the brightening day. The east began to turn pink. The truck made its way toward me, its mechanical arm seizing each can in turn and emptying it into the back as the top of the cargo area opened like a ladybug spreading her wings.

What engineering marvels these new garbage trucks are! No longer do men have to hop from the truck at each stop, exposing themselves to stink and dirt. We do make progress.

I stepped away from the can, to give the mechanical arm plenty of room to work. As the driver came by, I called, "I was too late this morning. I live on the next street."

He leaned out and said, "You could have just called! You didn't have to chase me down!"

I smiled.

The mechanical arm lifted and emptied my trash can. I rolled it home, and put out the recycling. That's always collected later. Mission accomplished. The sunrise bloomed magnificently, and I admired it.

Any day that starts like that is going to be a good day.