A Trashy Little Mystery

I don’t have a great memory but I do pride myself on remembering to put out our garbage on collection day.

In the three years we’ve lived in our current home I’ve virtually never missed a day.

Then, some weeks back, for no apparent reason, I forgot. Later that week, I forgot again. The next week, same thing.

In all I missed four collection days in a row and – to make matters worse – I couldn’t begin to explain why.

Then, as suddenly as this cycle began, it ended and I’ve been perfect again for the last two weeks.

What caused this glitch in my near-perfect garbage-day memory?

Turns out my memory isn’t that good. My neighbor’s memory, however, is great.

You see, my glitch started when he and his family went on vacation for two weeks and it ended upon their return.

It seems that whenever I see his cans at the street, I know to take mine out as well. And when his cans aren’t by the street, my own never even cross my mind.

So much for my pride. Still, it makes me wonder…

In how many other areas of my life am I equally unaware of the cues that are driving my behavior?

With all the self-reflection and study I’ve done throughout my life I’m sure there aren’t many.

In fact, I’d list them all here except our microwave is beeping and for some reason I just got mighty hungry.

Originally published January 22, 2007