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    Musing: A Walk on the Trashy Side

    Without thinking, I went for a stroll with some real trash. We left the house, walked for a bit, enjoyed the peace and quiet, and then returned. I don’t think the neighbors saw us together, but I don’t want to risk someone else revealing my horrible faux pas. So, Dear Reader, my confession follows.

    My days begin around five. While the rest of the house sleeps, I pour a cup of coffee, prepare a bowl of oatmeal, and settle at the kitchen table with my trusty iPad. During this quiet time, I can read my newspapers, catch up with my favorite websites via an RSS reader, and even peruse social media if it’s not too heinous.

    As I’ve explained before, my days tend to blend together. Since I work from home, my commute is to my desk in my study, where I write for a few hours. We sometimes eat dinner out and sometimes cook at home, but that decision is based on mood, not the day of the week. We typically take a day a week to play in our beautiful mountains, but that is also random.

    Maybe that’s just an elaborate excuse, but the result is I rarely know what day of the week it is unless I take the effort to consult the calendar. I must, however, accomplish certain tasks on certain days.

    For example, I need to roll the trashcan to the curb each Thursday. Relying on my memory for that task would be useless, especially since the truck comes by about seven in the morning. Trust me, I’ve realized the trash still sits in the garage when I’ve heard the truck coming up the street. I’m not fast enough, so if I forget, I’m stuck with smelly garbage for another week.

    So I have reminders programmed. Each Thursday morning at six, my phone, my iPad, and my computer all sound that electronic ping. A message, “Roll trash to the curb,” pops up on all the screens.

    Yes, my reminders are that explicit. If it just said “trash,” I might sit staring at the screen trying to figure out what I meant, as if the message was nothing more than a string tied around my finger. I would only figure it out when I heard the roar of the approaching truck.

    Last Thursday, as I sat at the kitchen table catching up on the news and sipping my coffee, that ping erupted from around me. Phone. Tablet. Computer. The little box appeared on the screen. “Roll trash to the curb.”

    I dutifully arose from the table, traipsed out to the garage, and pulled the trashcan out the door.

    Standing at the top of the driveway, I admired the glorious morning around me. Sunrise was still several minutes away, but the sky was already glowing its golden hues. A gentle breeze rustled the trees and shifted the cool—but not cold—air. A herd of deer slowly ambled through the forest beside the house, not bothered by my sudden appearance. I could hear the birds singing in the trees and even the far off gobbling of wild turkeys. No cars moved yet through the neighborhood. No diesel engine announced the imminent arrival of the garbage truck.

    I regretted breaking the serenity of the morning with the loud clacking of the plastic wheels of the bin, but it was Thursday—trash day—and duty called. With my hand firmly gripping the plastic handle, I rolled the can to the end of the drive and settled it into place.

    Once again, I paused to admire the beauty of the approaching day. With a stretch and yawn, I surveyed the empty street. Totally empty. No trashcan waited at the drive across the street. Nor was there one up the hill. Nor the couple of houses down the street.

    I was the first person to have the trash at the street, a rare thing. No one else ventured from their garage, tires of the bin grinding against the pavement as they waved and wished me a good morning.

    My neighbors, I realized, must be sleeping in. If the crews were running on time—and they usually were this early in the day—pick up was less than an hour away.

    Perhaps, I thought, everyone took advantage of the holiday week for an early summer vacation. Memorial Day signaled the start of the season, so maybe a few had headed for the beach.

    But all of them? Every single neighbor? That made little sense. Not that many people turned Memorial Day into a weeklong break from work. They just skipped the one day.

    Exactly like the sanitation workers did, I realized. They took Monday off from their rounds and pushed their entire weekly schedule one day later. Our Thursday pickup had moved to Friday.

    I looked at my lonely trashcan, sitting by the street waiting on a ride that wasn’t coming, at least not that day, and debated leaving it right there. Alas, that wasn’t an option. Not because of some rule. Because of bears. The rascals will empty the trash in their search for tasty morsels.

    With a sigh, I grabbed the handle once again and rolled my full trashcan back up the driveway and settled it into position in the garage. Once back at my seat at the kitchen table, I picked up my phone and entered a reminder for twenty-four hours later, “Roll trash to the curb.”

    I’m happy to report I did exactly that on Friday, just like all my neighbors.

    Enjoyed the Story? Try a Short Story

    Secrets, passions, and a reunion that changes everything

    Benjamin Walsh sees his wife, Nicole, walking down a city street. With her busy schedule at work, he doesn’t know how she found time to get away, but tries to catch up to say hello.

    To his surprise, she greets an old friend of hers, Eduardo Rivera. Eduardo left town two decades earlier to pursue a theatrical career in New York. What is he doing back?

    Benjamin is shocked when Eduardo and Nicole embrace. They disappear through a door together. With understanding of what is happening, Benjamin realizes he has only one choice.

    Publication Date: February 6, 2024

    Format: E-book (EPUB, MOBI, PDF)

    Pages: 38

    Price: Pay what you want (Minimum 99¢ to cover processing costs)

    Gratuitous Dog Photo: A Patient Frankie Suave

    Frankie Suave - Part of this week's Monday Musing - A walk on the trashy side
    Frankie Suave

    A patient Frankie Suave waiting for the door to be opened so he can return to his favorite air-conditioning vent, but first he tolerates a requested photograph.

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      Until Next Monday

      Choose wisely who you walk with, and make sure you’re doing it on the right day.

      If you have questions or thoughts, drop them in the comments below.

      See you next Monday.

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      1. JEAN BURKHARDT on June 5, 2023 at 6:28 am

        Although we are retired and not working from home(for pay)-lol I too have to have reminders of certain things like the trash and recycling pickup! I guess we are lucky that where we live there aren’t bears so we can put out the cans the night before. I’m glad you finally figured it out last week for the holiday schedule!

        Frankie Suave is such a handsome boy and I’m sure after the picture he went back to his air conditioned house!

      2. Juno's mom on June 5, 2023 at 11:53 am

        I’ve missed the adjusted trash day on occasion and have driveway that’s up a hill. No bears, but do have raccoons. It’s always nice to see sweet Frankie.

      3. Cynthia Poe Evans on June 5, 2023 at 2:52 pm

        Since covid began, I, too, scarcely ever know what day it is. This even after verifying it by Google nest or calendar or radio. Life is easier now that I live where I I take my garbage to a bin and my recycling too. Holidays always seemed to throw me off too. A fine story. I always enjoy your thoughts.

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