I worry about my garbage. Mir laughs and laughs when I tell her I want to get home to deal with it. It might be a question of control. Garbage disposal is one of the few parts of my life where I feel in charge. A friend told me about a crack addict friend of his who got help, put his life together bit by bit and is now doing okay, and always makes his bed. It was part of his therapy, early on -- one of the few things he could control -- and he still makes a Marine corps super tight hospital corners bounce a quarter bed first thing every single day. I guess that's where I am, tying to control my garbage because I can't control my health or kids or career or emotional life. Except that I am not in control of my garbage either. Many weeks I dash downstairs to take it out just as the garbage guy is pulling away from the curb. I empty my plastic bin into the back of the truck while he frowns and goes, Tsk tsk. I apologize and vow to do better next week. Only I don't. I am nowhere near as successful as the crack addict. I figure it's like I worry about making my bed all day, and finally get around to it halfway through the evening news. Recently I decided to give the problem away. I asked Ed to be in charge of the garbage. Okay, he said. Just like that. I breathed a sigh of relief.
No garbage was picked up the first Friday. Or the second Friday. Or the third.
Darn it, Ed, you're even worse than I am, I said.
Yeah, sorry, Dad.
The bin was overflowing, and smelling vile.
What are you going to do? I asked.
He shrugged. He may be in charge of the garbage, but he didn't care. When I woke this morning, the garbage was gone. Vanished like dew. Like the last cookie on the plate. Like innocence. What happened? I asked Ed.
I took it to a dumpster last night, he said. I didn't want to wait until Friday.
My mouth opened, and closed. Ed went back to his cereal.
Don't wait for the truck -- just throw it out. Wow. Can I learn from my son? Would his approach to garbage work for life in general? These are deep waters.