Somebody Is Stalking Me

I have a most perplexing dilemma. Allow me to set the stage for you. Every week, on Tuesday, I put my garbage can full of garbage at the end of my driveway, and a garbage truck comes and takes the garbage away and leaves behind the empty garbage can. Usually I pick up the garbage can that day or the next day and put it in front of the steps leading to the side door of my house. Then I put more garbage in it, and the cycle continues.

Unless I leave the empty garbage can at the end of my driveway until Thursday.

If I do that, the garbage can disappears.

Perplexing, you say? I couldn’t agree with you more. But I’m not done yet.

The first time this happened, I passed it off as somebody wanting a garbage can but not wanting to have to pay for it. Irritating, but whatever. Garbage cans aren’t that expensive. Unfortunately, I can’t remember when this happened, but it was probably a couple of years ago.

Then, sometime later, it happened again. Once again, I just assumed that somebody was being cheap and our can seemed like a good fit.

Two weeks ago, it happened for the third time. This time, I began to get a little suspicious. When I took my son to school, I made sure to look at all my neighbors’ driveways,  and I saw plenty of garbage cans just laying around. Somebody was stealing ours, and not anyone else’s. Strange.

Someone suggested that our garbage cans were being stolen because we had nice ones with wheels and such. So I decided to try an experiment. The garbage can we had left over is pretty much the worst garbage can you could imagine. It’s made of cheap, flimsy plastic. It has no wheels. It’s not particularly big, so it doesn’t hold very much trash, which is a problem if you produce a lot of trash. It also has no handles, so when it’s full of garbage, it’s very difficult to manuever. I figured that if somebody was stealing our garbage can because they wanted a nice one, then they’d give this one a wide berth. Not to mention that they’d just taken our can the week before.

So after the garbage men emptied it and left it at the end of my driveway, I deliberately left it there. I even took the lid so it would be as unappealing as possible. Tuesday went by and it was still there. Wednesday went by, and it was still there. But on Thursday morning, it was gone.

Apparently somebody is deliberately waiting until Thursday to see if we leave our garbage can out that long, and if we do, they snatch it. This does not seem to be rational behavior to me. Clearly the quality of the garbage can doesn’t matter. That very same Thursday when my crappy can was stolen, there were plenty of nice, big cans with wheels and handles at the ends of various driveways on my street.

This situation makes me want to experiment. I am tempted to buy a new garbage can, leave it out all day Tuesday, and most of the day Wednesday, and then bring it in on Wednesday night. Then, after Thursday has passed, on Friday morning I will again put the garbage can at the end of my driveway. Will it be stolen? Or will it be left alone since it wasn’t there on Thursday? It would almost be worth potentially sacrificing a garbage can to find out.

The most logical thing to do, of course, would be to put a hidden camera at the end of my driveway and leave a garbage can out on Wednesday night as bait. Then I would have videographic evidence of the culprit, which would be awesome. Because I can’t quite fathom who would be doing this to us.

I do have a hunch, but I have absolutely no evidence to back up my hunch. Nor do I want to name names in a public forum such as this, because I wouldn’t want to be accused of slander. Let’s just say this person is not exactly a rational individual. Hence the reason why I would suspect him or her of this not exactly rational act.

As I may have mentioned before, my wife is a teacher. The kids in her class are fascinated by our predicament. They have suggested various solutions, some that are more feasible, some that are less. One kid suggested that we set up a pulley so we can reel the garbage can back up to it’s home in front of the stairs without actually leaving the house. Nice idea, but probably too complicated to actually pull off.

Other ideas included loaning us a dog to scare off the garbage can thief and setting up a hidden camera, which I already mentioned. At least one kid actually offered to come and hide in the bushes all night so they could see who the thief is. This idea in particular resonates with me. Perhaps I’ll actually be the one to do it.

Like I said, I have a hunch about who is doing this, and this hunch involves a certain mentally imbalanced person of whom I am aware. It has also been suggested to me that perhaps someone is doing this as a prank. Kind of a strange prank, though. I mean, what would really be the point of stealing somebody’s garbage can every Thursday? Not much of a prank, if you ask me.

In any case, I bought a new garbage can. And it cost $12.50. So I’m probably not going to do any experimenting with it. Because having to spend $12.50 on a new garbage can every week could get expensive. I’m just going to make sure that I bring it in right away every Tuesday. And the crazy garbage can thief, whoever he or she may be, is just going to have to get used to not stealing our garbage can. Sucks to be them.

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