It's a fine, sunny morning in the fall, with just that nip in the air that says summer is really over. You take a deep breath, savour the freshness of the air. At breakfast, you open the paper. The front page headline says that garbage trucks are poised to dump their load onto every lawn in your town.
You figure such a thing couldn't really happen in a nice, well-to-do town like yours. You move on to the Lifestyle section and read, with interest, about Kanye West's latest caper with the paparazzi. Now there's a juicy story.
But suddenly, you become aware of a deep rumble. You realise it's the sound of hundreds of garbage trucks, deployed all around your neighbourhood. You forget your breakfast and run outside. At the end of the street is a line of garbage trucks. One has your address pasted on its windscreen, like the destination on a public bus.
Then you remember: Your town has a long-standing garbage problem. It doesn't have a landfill, and tipping into other landfills is prohibitively expensive. Meanwhile, households are generating an increasing amount of garbage from stuff they've bought, convenience meals, and all the other contraptions of modern life. So a long time ago it was agreed at a town meeting that everyone could tip their garbage into a truck, for free. But when the trucks were full, they would dump their contents onto the town's lawns.
What do you do?
(A) Go back inside, calmly eat your breakfast and finish reading the article on Kanye West, while waiting for the truck to dump its load onto your lawn;
(B) Call your neighbours and form a human chain across your street so none of the trucks can come in;
(C) Call your township office and tell them to call off the garbage trucks while you and your fellow townsmen re-negotiate the contract. Even if that means committing your family to generating a lot less garbage from now on.
What am I really talking about?