Monday, May 18, 2020

Does anybody know what day it is?

Gerd Altmann - Pixabay
Many decades ago, when I worked at the public library, we would get many reference questions by telephone.  This was my favorite part of the job. It was pre-internet and required searching various reference books.

Who was the first US President born in the US?

Who lives at 123 Elm Street?

Who makes thermoplastic couplings?

Why is the sky blue? (That one popped up regularly.)

A neighborhood bartender called frequently with some of the most interesting questions. The stakes were high as there was often a bet on the answer. The best question was, “Why does pot give you the munchies?”

There was one reference call that always brought a tear to my eye. It was from an elderly lady who would ask in a kindly, shaky voice, “Hello, honey. Could you tell me what day it is?” I tear up even now thinking of her. During quarantine, I think of her often.

While we are staying home, King Rat and I will regularly ask each other, “Is today ____?” Neither is sure of the answer. Going by memory at this point is ill advised. Today we have phones, computers, tablets, TVs, and thermometers that all give us the day, date, and time. It is easy to check and we feel a bit silly each time do this. (Often, more than once a day.)

The only thing that has been a constant throughout quarantine is garbage day. It has been Friday for over 20 years. Why, oh why, would our garbage hauler choose this time to change our pick up day?? Now it is Thursday. The bins must be hauled out on Wednesday evening, or as we call it “Whensday?”

When thinking of rats, we often associate them with garbage piles. A bit unfair, but honest. This is one of the many reasons we do not allow garbage to pile up at home. We are diligent garbage people. Last week, or month, or whenever, I heard the familiar sound of King Rat hauling the bins to the curb. I checked my phone. It was Tuesday. I didn’t have the heart to tell him. It would be garbage day someday.

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