No Can Do: A Mystery Journal To Learn From
July 18th - 6:09 p.m.
Every Friday morning I roll my City of Atlanta trash can to the street and place it in the exact same spot; nestled squarely between the sidewalk and the road just to the left of the mailbox. Lid closed. When I come home from work, I usually find Herbie Curbie with the lid ajar in the middle of my driveway, because garbage men aren't an anal retentive bunch.
But today was different. I found Herbie Curbie in the exact same spot where I left him. Is today a holiday? I lifted the lid and found no trash inside. Huh. A considerate trash man. That's cool. Then I noticed that sunlight shone through a giant crack. Stenciled on the exterior of the can was street number 1387. My address is 209.
Someone purposely swapped trash cans with me and tried to make it look like nothing had changed. I glanced around, but my neighbors had already pulled their Herbie Curbies away from the street. I had no choice but to wheel it into my backyard as if it were my own. The push bar was sticky with spider webs and the wheels were old and failing. This was not my designated trash can. This was trash itself.
July 19th, 1:21 p.m.
I let the dog smell a sack of her own poo so she could follow the scent of the missing trash can. She sicked her teeth around the guilty person's jowls at 1387 in record time. I'm partially joking, but I did take the dog for a walk so that I could snoop around the neighborhood without looking so... snoopy. The mailbox of a house at the nearest cross street had a 1387 address, but no trash can was in sight.
I told Patti about my discovery and she asked, "Are you going to go talk to them about it?"
"No," I said. "I'm going to swap trash cans with the jerk on the next trash day."
She replied, "How passive-aggressive of you."
Thrilling Conclusion of a Boy and His Plastic Stink Box