Lucia Kanter St. Amour’s son finds human connection and even spirituality in the mundane. Here’s her Perspective.
Since school began distance learning, being home to see the weekly garbage pickup has been a windfall. Julian knows the names and birthdays of the sanitation truck drivers for each bin. He camps outside starting at 7 am on collection day, like a character in a Eugene Ionesco play. His focus on garbage day is an exercise in absolute devotion.
On the final Thursday of summer break, Julian opted to watch a friend’s garbage collection, rather than hold vigil at home. Imagining that his regular sanitation drivers would wonder about his absence, he hand-wrote notes to each of them, explaining his whereabouts, which he taped to their respective bins. I didn’t bother to warn him that the drivers likely would not wonder where he was, and the notes would go unseen as the mechanical arm lifted and emptied each bin.
I was wrong.
The day after his absence, we encountered one of our regular trucks in a nearby neighborhood. Recognizing both truck and driver, Julian urged me to pull over so he could say hello. My son exited the car and giddily approached the truck, his arms flapping about ecstatically. I watched as the driver alighted from his truck, handed my son a bottle of water in the triple-digit heat, and then reached into his truck to extract a piece of paper. It was my son’s note — the one he had taped to our bin the day before, the one I was sure the driver wouldn’t regard. He had not only noticed it, but had kept and affixed it inside his truck.