Nighttime Odyssey (Or a Trip to the Bin during Curfew)
By Didi Gorman
p.m. and I need to get to the garbage bin at once. Curfew will be upon us in exactly
one minute and I’m standing outside our front door, holding a garbage bag full
of putrid fish bones (don’t ask).
But where IS the garbage bin? For some reason, it’s not in its usual spot on the driveway. I stare into the night, trying to locate its whereabouts.
Found it! Why is it still by the curb? Which family member was on bin duty today? It’s just so irresponsible of them! So neglectful and disrespectful and careless! I’ll give them a consequence for that!
Ah, never mind, I just remembered it was me.
The problem is, the bin is protruding onto the road, which, as you may very well know, is a public area where no one is allowed after 8 p.m.
Houston, we may have a problem (unless I somehow manage to make a run for it, get to the bin and yank it back onto our property in less than one minute). I must stop blabbering now. No time to waste.
I whoosh down the driveway towards the curb. The ground is icy though, and I find myself skidding into the road. Oh no, I’m on public terrain now, blatantly infringing on the law! I look around. There’s no soul in sight. I immediately notice that our bin is the only one still left by the curb (which goes to show that other families have their bin duties sorted).
Aagh! What was that sound? Someone’s approaching! Quick, hide! I leap behind the bin and duck down, still clutching the garbage bag. I mentally calculate how much of me is on our property and how much is in the public sphere. Better be flawless than lawless. My left foot is clearly on the road; the rest of me is on our territory. My left foot is breaking the law! I need to remedy that immediately. I lean sideways in an attempt to bring as much of me as possible onto our property, but, alas, I lose balance and roll to the road, winding up in a fetal position right in front of the bin. If a SWAT team ambushed me now, I’d have a hard time explaining this.
The sound is getting closer. Someone’s clearly spotted me. I shut my eyes tight and hold my breath. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.
I open one eye just a little and find myself face to face with a deer. He or she looks at me for a brief second and gallops elegantly away. I’m pretty sure it was sneering, as if to say, ‘Aren’t you envious of my freedom, you lowly human? Look! I’m allowed outside at night!’
I have no time to ponder this inequality, however. I’m back on my feet and am about to haul the bin onto the driveway when a screeching noise startles me. Is it a siren? Have I been spotted after all?
In a brisk move I dive behind the garbage bin once again, performing an unintentional front handspring and landing with a thud in a pile of snow. For a few seconds I’m not sure where I am. I clear the snow off my eyes and realize I’m inside a snowbank. I crawl out of the snowbank, a little shaky and unsettled. I peer carefully from behind the bin. Here comes that noise again.
Okay, phew, it’s just the train.
I’m soon back on my feet, wheeling the bin up the driveway. When I finally position it back in its spot, I heave a huge sigh of relief. Mission accomplished! All’s well that ends well. I inhale the fresh, crisp air.
But wait a minute. How come I’m inhaling fresh, crisp air and not putrid fish bones? Wasn’t I holding a garbage bag filled with fish bones a scant moment ago? Where’s the bag? I don’t remember ever discarding it in the bin.
I survey the surroundings. There it is, by the curb, protruding slightly into the road.
Houston, we have another problem.
Actually, no, forget it Houston.
I’ve never taken such a stressful trip to the bin before. I’m not going to the curb again during curfew. Sorry, no can do. Let the wildlife enjoy this freebie.
I just hope that this assembly of cats, feasting on fish bones by our curb, does not count as a ‘large gathering’. I dread to think that some cats may even consider this ‘a meal out at a restaurant’. I don’t think I can handle any more infractions tonight.
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