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Fortunately I had put out the trash the night before so it was only slightly annoying to wake up after five hours sleep. And as I lay there wondering why trash trucks are louder than brass bands, I realized that I was never gonna know. It was just one of life’s mysteries. And as we all know, life’s mysteries are myriad. Seeing as how it was the trash service that began this restless state of ponderation, let’s begin with our trash service. The crew of humans has been replaced by a driver and a truck that can pick up the cans without the driver ever leaving the cab. This must be enormously engaging for the driver who now never moves, as opposed to before when they got to get out of their cabs and heave trash with wild abandon. Now it is much different. From the side of the truck, large claws grasp the sides of the trash can, lift it up vigorously and invert it with such force that all of the trash that isn’t spewed around the neighborhood, actually falls into the receptacle. But now the mystery. If I put the trash out at night, the trucks come sometime late in the next afternoon, but, I swear that I’m not exaggerating even a little, and here it is…, if I don’t put the trash out the night before and then I sleep in, the trucks come at 6:45 in the morning. This has now happened for the last four years every Friday morning. Obviously I have beaten their system by putting it out the night before, but on the few occasions that I was remiss, they came early. Every single time. And I know that their coming early today when in fact I did put the trash out, was a ruse. Turns out it wasn’t the trash truck that wakened me. It was the green recyclable truck that came early. My trash can of trash (the black one) is still sitting there filled to the brim with the trappings of 21st century conspicuous consuming (I certainly want to be as patriotic as our appointed president bush was). It’s three o’clock in the afternoon. So how do they know when I’m gonna put the cans out? Am I actually the determining factor in when they perform their duties? Is someone actually monitoring me and then contacting them? Wouldn’t it take an incredible budget to keep surveillance on me for such a mundane purpose? And finally, why me? I already have the responsibility of ascertaining which lane will become stationary on the freeway, just by virtue of me getting into it, not to mention the fact that the opposing freeway lanes are wide open. They always know which way I’m going. Paranoid? Hah! I WAS RIGHT ABOUT NIXON! With all this useless rumination buzzing in my brain I got up and, as on most mornings, ate is a grapefruit. My process is routine and goes like this: After carefully cutting each segment to free it from the husk, and cutting around the edges for the same reason, I eat all the fruit and then squeeze the remaining juice into the bowl to drink. This morning, as it is ever thus, no matter how or where I squeeze the grapefruit, the juice manages to come out in a direction that is totally
unpredictable, missing the bowl and finding either my computer keyboard, or my eye. How do it know? Can a grapefruit actually tell which way is up? Even after it has been cut in half? Are the grapefruit police actually monitoring me with some device they implanted in my body? Was I abducted by grapefruits? Why me? One final question and I’ll go back to giving advice about stuff I actually know. Just help me to understand this: people driving in their cars by themselves behave as though no one can see them. Have you noticed? I mean with the blue tooths (teefus?) you see everyone seemingly talking to themselves, so we can’t really pick out the loonies anymore. And, of course, there are all the folks singing their brains out in the cars. I have no problem with that, particularly if they are singing one of my songs, but the real mystery there is the fascination between people’s cars, their fingers and their noses. I mean what happens that compels people to dig into their nostrils with such wild abandon. What happens that the need overpowers every other social constraint? What is the scenario…? They’re sitting there watching the tube, and suddenly feel slighted congested… Khnyuck, khnyuck, KHNyuck, KHNYUCK …hey honey, I think I’ve got something in my nose… (eyes dialate, jaw becomes slack, in a voice of the hypnotized… …I think I’ll go for a drive… And once they get into the car and begin the excavation, you’d think they were digging for treasure in there. Such finesse, such force, such acrobatics, elbows akimbo, nostril stretched to the limit. And they’re still driving. They want to outlaw talking on the phone while driving. Makes sense, but what about this diversion? It’s clearly universal. I’ve seen it in Rome, Tokyo, Honolulu, or Berlin. What’s next, outlawing noses and fingers within two feet of each other? Or perhaps, not being allowed to drive without Kleenex in the car? And if you don’t have a Kleenex, what then? Because once you find a nugget, what do you do with it? I’ve seen several different approaches. The casual reach under the seat to deposit it behind the upholstery where it will NEVER BE FOUND, or the more popular, which seems to be the “roll it into a noomie cannon ball and flick it out the window where it will NEVER BE FOUND” approach. Which is your personal fav?