I probably stepped over that slip of paper half a dozen times. Generally, I stop and pick up scraps of litter that find their way into our yard, but each time I walked up or down the driveway I gave myself the mental note to actually bend over the next time and do the right thing. Of course, part of my reticence to do that right thing was based on the resentment I feel toward those who would toss their trash into our yard. Why should I be stuck with cleaning up someone else's mess? Then again: my yard, my mess.
As it turned out, it wasn't trash that had been generated from inside our compound. It was a Post-It, folded into fourths, making it much less than a handful. It was the elementary school teacher instinct that made me want to see what was written inside. This is what I found: Written in pencil, there was a list. It wasn't groceries, but some sort of reminders. Number one: Appreciate. Number two: want to be friends. Number three: want to see others. Number four: it's my issue not yours. I had apparently stumbled upon somebody's breakup checklist.
I was curious about that first one. Appreciate what? Maybe the time the dumpee took to listen to the dumper? Maybe the appreciation was all about the past and how now things had changed. It was a nice way to start, anyway. This allows the second point, about remaining friends, seem a little less harsh. It might even be construed as sweet, in a way. The notion of wanting to see other people would probably not be received as warmly, but with that setup, it creates an opening. Cap it all off by insisting that it's not the other person's fault but you own the problem. Tears and hugs all around. It is, as we like to say in Oakland, all good.
That is, if you stuck to the script. If you showed up and things got tense real fast and you forgot in which pocket you had stashed your notes, it might not have gone so well. There might still have been tears, but maybe not so many hugs. It might be the reason why, in disgust, someone would throw their Post-It over the fence. Into my yard. Where I would walk around it for a few days before I felt compelled to pick it up.
Or maybe things worked out so well that the couple decided to go out and celebrate, throwing caution to the wind and a Post-It into my yard. Where I still had to pick it up days later. The permutations are endless. The ending is always the same. My yard, my mess.