Thursday, March 13, 2008

About getting things done on time. Or Not.

So a friend sent me a list of aphorisms* today. Number one said:

The nicest thing about the future is
that it always starts

This philosophy suits me to a T. Now, earlier today I had been thinking about mentioning procrastination here on my blog ( I just said that because I feel younger and hip and stuff saying "on my blog.") Once I read this clever little saying (and hey, it was NUMBER ONE on the list. That REALLY means It's A Sign I Should Blog About It, right?) I was pretty sure that this was divine confirmation that my failure to act according to human rules of decency needed to be blabbed to the hordes who read about my other failures to act.. oh, you get the drift. So. Let me proceed:

Garbage comes on Thursday.

Above concept is not particularly difficult to grasp. The sticking point is in the relentlessness of the arrival of Thursdays. While technically they only occur once each week, their significance is magnified by the regularity with which Thursday is encompassed by one of my husband's business trips. This means that I, and I alone, am responsible for positioning said garbage out by the curb, ready for the ferris wheel ride into the gaping maw at the rear of the truck (ok, it really isn't, we don't have that kind of garbage truck, but I'm totally going with this description because I've already written it, and I have my heart set on using the word "maw" in a sentence today, and it is 20 minutes to midnight, so my opportunities are dwindling, y'know?)

It used to be acceptable to put the garbage out on the curb on Wednesday evening. It probably still is, but somewhere along the string of Thursdays that have comprised my duty roster, I made the discovery that garbage trucks don't arrive on my street until the afternoon is well-advanced. I'm guessing that it dawned on me during a few trips outside During The Day Especially to Nobly Refrain from Cluttering the Neighborhood Sidewalk with my Trash, only to find that my thoughtfulness and prompt attention were totally squandered, as the all important trash conveyence had not yet visited my general vicinity. Nor my specific vicinity, for that matter. Once this concept of time delay had settled into my brain (no comments, please) it became apparent that Wednesday night was far too early to prepare our weekly contribution. Thursday morning was a much more appropriate time; one only needed to read the finger-wagging scold contained in the Homeowners Association newsletter to realize that garbage left on the curb too long impeded school children on their walks to school, caused unsightly clutter if the wind kicked up to distribute used dryer sheets and unshredded bills in various neighborhood shrubs, and threatened wildlife (and local felines) with unsanitary yet savory dainties hidden just out of reach but worth a concerted retrieval effort even if it involved scattering undesireable items hither and yon on the sidewalk.

Of course, once one has begun to refine one's schedule, it is difficult not to make the effort to improve upon the timing. This generally leads to restraining one's garbage divestation until much nearer the time of the removal vehicle's arrival. And as that arrival tends to be in the waning hours of afternoon (around 4 pm, for the reader desiring to know the specific nature of "waning," in this usage), there is no real point in moving one's items until after lunch. And if one has a late lunch there is still no need to panic, as after the mid-afternoon beverage break is perfectly adequate promptness.

The trouble with being too accurate in life lies in the deceitful nature of life itself. Accuracy is only as good as the moment it enfolds. The next moment might just be totally inaccurate, and then one is left- holding one's garbage in one's hand with an expression of shock and revulsion on one's face - while distant sounds of the "ferris wheel ride into the gaping maw of the garbage truck" echo down the block. Echo down the completely WRONG side of the block. Echo down the side of the block that means that the garbage truck has PASSED MY HOUSE and left my trash decaying in solitary splendor in my garage (solitary because none of my neighbors are nearly as devoted to being accurate in life as I am, and have therefore had their refuse on the curb since Wednesday evening).

Fortunately, in addition to my passion for excellence in timing, I have something left in my favor. My house is located on the initial pass of the truck into my neighborhood. Because of the nature of the route, I have about fifteen minutes to wheel my week's worth of rejected excess across the street and park it neatly adjacent to that exceedingly tidy collection of the gentleman directly opposite me, ready for pickup. Unfortunately, Mr. Tidy is (what else) picking up spare dust particles in his immaculate yard, so I can't really sneak it over and am forced to beg permission (which of course entails a bit of excuse-making and general self-deprecation, as I know the concept of advanced time refinement is a bit difficult to explain to strangers). I deem this a necessary sacrifice, and the garbage issue is resolved with little further fuss.

The thing that worries me a little though, is this. Now I know that I have a fail safe. I'm just worried that my obsessed nature is now going to lead me further down the path of adjustment. Now that I know I can wait until the truck has already passed...

Maybe I had better start paying attention to when the garbage truck comes in my neighboring subdivision.

*A short, pointed sentence expressing a wise or clever observation or a general truth; adage.


Anonymous said...

But the question remains....What about those recyclables? Are they plucked at the same time, or are they treated with the same ingenuity as the garbage? Said trucks in our neighborhood are obviously into entrapment, for their schedules are haphazard. Thus, the cans and the box of recyclables litter our street the night before. All for the pleasure of our springer spaniel the following morning ;-)


Joyce said...

Its a conspiracy of collection can't count on them. Actually I too have a Thursday pick up day and I leave the bin out on Wednesday night..I have been the victom of being fooled by the garbage boys. As for recycling, forget it. Around here its too haphazard to count on. Joyce

Janet said...

"I feel younger and hip and stuff saying "on my blog."

This made me laugh almost as much as your garbage story. I love saying, "My Blog". It makes me feel so important. Whenever I read Julie's additions to her blog, I promise myself that I will do the same but never seem to either get around to it or not be able to think of something clever enough to add to mine. Julie, I love your anecdotes. Keep them coming.