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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

One of our neighbors has begun some weird game of 'garbage can chicken' where he sits in his apartment, all five cans over-flowing, garbage trucks drawing near, and does nothing.
He is fed up with the lack of cooperation he's receiving from the rest of the tenants in our four-plex. The trash cans are considered "communal" and everybody's responsibility.
We used to all pitch in. The neighbor would roll them out and we would drag them back and so on. Eventually, everyone but him, just forgot about them.
One day before backing out of the driveway, I noticed all five cans standing against the wall. It was trash day.
"Maybe they don't need to be emptied this week. That's happened before. I think that's happened before. Hasn't that happened before?"
I put my car in park and one by one checked under the lids. All full. Really full. Like another week not emptied would be unbearable. So I rolled them all to the street and left. Then I returned to ignoring them as usual.
Until yesterday. Again the five cans stood earnestly against the wall. Again, it was trash day.
"Oh crap. Here we go again."
The thing is, I know it was killing him to gamble like that. To depend on someone else to do it. He used to line them up on the street first thing in the morning. I know now he was setting an example. I swear, after a time I didn't even hear their wheels on the gravel outside anymore. It was almost as if they magically never became full.
I was on my way out and decided to play along. I drove away, leaving them as they were...and immediately rolled all of them quickly to the curb upon arriving home and seeing the big blue trucks just feet away. It was such a close call, the driver could have beamed me in the head with an apple. Or a cigarette would have been more likely.

I wasn't totally in the karmic clear either. It had rained hard before I had a chance to push them back and some rain had accumulated in the one missing its lid. Crud that had been stuck to the bottom marinated in the water and of course flooded out onto to my shoe when I tried to empty it.

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