On Wednesday mornings our neighborhood rises like a choir to drag its laden trash cans to the edge of the driveway. Green ones. Blue ones. Most with lids.
Like mushrooms that sprout over night, the cans wait in full-grown form for the lurch and roar of the garbage truck as it rounds the corner at noon. Practiced hands then heft the cans hip high and leave no trace of anything unwanted.
On Wednesday evenings, the cans wait empty and limp by the road, sometimes on their sides, for a hand of a man or a woman or a small child proving his strength, to scoot them away to safety beside the house or the garage or behind the fence.
Today is Monday. No garbage cans wait near the edge of the road or lean against mailboxes. No sanitation truck is expected through our neighborhood. Nothing indicates it’s garbage day…
Except the blue beer can in the side yard as we enter our neighborhood. And the styrofoam take-out boxes strewn beneath the uniform cherry trees. And the empty chip bag and red straws. And the two plastic water bottles.
All dropped carelessly. Or thrown thoughtlessly. Or left for later.
I don’t know how long it takes to turn a blind eye to litter. I just know that my young son pointing out the window at the crushed white papers in the grass wants to know like he did yesterday and last Thursday, “Is it garbage day today, mommy?”