Trust (or The Clothes in the Hamper)

by Elison Alcovendaz

You wake up in the morning to your alarm clock. The time on the phone is right. It's smart, after all. You know it. You'd put your career on the line to that clock. You go take a shower and let that water into your mouth and eyes because you know - you know - that water is safe. The city said so. They got testers. They pay people for that. You watch your wife put on her make-up. You brush your teeth with that toothpaste you bought at that store, you put on that deodorant, that lotion, and nah, of course none of those things have long-term effects. The FDA said those things were good. If not, some other official organization. Official, like, they report to people. They report to leadership. Those experts about stuff that work in that building somewhere.

You put on warm clothes. The meteorologist said it would be cold. You set the alarm to your house. You lock your doors. You see the fence but you don't ever think about it. What's there to think about? It's a fence. It keeps people out. Before you get to your car you wave at your neighbors. Those neighbors you've said three words to in six months. Those neighbors respect that fence just like you respect their fence. It's six feet tall and has splinters in it. No one would climb that fence. People don't do that. Just like people don't break windows. 

You kiss your wife before she gets into her car. You get in your car. The one those guys at the dealer you always go to serviced last weekend. Those guys know cars. They even listed them on the receipt they had you sign. There was proof they knew stuff. It was right there. You start the car. It works of course. All those parts working together like that is just amazing. You put your kid in his car seat. They said it should no longer be rear-facing - I mean, they said it. You buckle him in and then buckle yourself in. You drive. You see other drivers. All those people who have been deemed worthy to drive because they understand the rules of the road are driving those multi-ton machines built by that factory in that country over there and are whizzing by you and your child, everywhere. You stop at that light. You see a cop. You see a green light. You drive. 

You drop your kid off at a babysitter. Nothing can happen there. You have vetted this babysitter. Your friend said she was good. Or if your kid is older, you will drop him at school. He will be taught all the right things by people who love their job and are good at it, too. He will read books. There are a lot of books he will read. Books that a group somewhere decided were the best books all kids should read. He will play with other children who will not do anything to him. I mean, these are other kids we're talking about. He will learn things that some agency that was put together to decide stuff said was necessary to learn. He will learn these things even though there are 35 other kids in his classroom with him. Taxes fund these schools. You pay your taxes. He will learn these things.

You get to work. You won't get paid until the end of the month but you know you will get paid. I mean, it has happened for two straight years now. The money is just there and then you start on the next month. You work on a computer that is protected. It has things like firewalls on it. Only you and your IT staff can see it. That's the way it is. You lock your sensitive documents in that locked drawer. It stays locked when you go to lunch. There's another key somewhere, but, well, no one does those kinds of things.  

At lunch you got to that cool new spot and check-in on Facebook and order the sandwich, the one with the meat and vegetables and bread that came from that place that collects these things and delivers them to the restaurant. You order water. You drink it. While you are waiting for your food you get a text. It is from your wife. It is from your wife because it says so. I mean, who else would be texting you at this time and you know her phone number, they assigned it, its right there on your phone - there's even a picture that pops up! - it is her. You text for a while then you get your food and you eat it. It is delicious. You give the waiter your credit card and he goes to the back to run it. You drink more water. You get the bill and sign it and leave the receipt there on the table with your signature on it. You go back to work.

When work is done, you pick your son up. He isn't crying. Everything is fine. Or, he says school is fine. Everything is fine. You go home. The fence is there. You wave at your neighbors. You go inside. It was hot all day so you shower again. Your son is playing a game on his computer. Your wife isn't home yet. You put a microwave dinner into the microwave and you heat it up and you cut it and you give it to your son. Then you make one for yourself. It is the perfect temperature.

You watch the news. They are talking about Syria. They are telling you about Syria. You watch another channel. They are also talking about Syria. They are telling you something else about Syria. We shouldn't intervene, you think, or we're talking to long to intervene, you think. You go online. You read some articles about other things. You didn't see the game but your team won. The score says it right there. You read about an animal that's going extinct. You read about a scientific discovery they made. You read about how to prevent skin cancer. You read about why GMOs are bad. You read about the hundred new healthy diets that all purport to do what exactly you're not quite sure. You read the mainstream news. You read the not-so mainstream news. You check Facebook. You get unsolicited life advice from your friends.  You see a person you haven't seen since middle school. You add them, even though it doesn't look like them. You put your birthday on your profile. What an easy way to connect. Your wife still isn't home.  

Your son is still playing that game, the one those people made. That one agency rated it a PG so you know it is okay. Your home phone rings. Someone is calling you. It is not your wife. She would not call the home phone before calling your cell phone. You know this. You let it go to voice mail. The voice mail will take the call for you. That's how it works. That's what it was built for. You listen. It is a damn telemarketer. The telemarketer is selling you something. You hate telemarketers. You delete the message once the person stops talking.  

You put your son to sleep and turn on the baby monitor. Those things are genius. Or, your son is still playing that game. You check your phone. No calls. No texts. It is an old phone but it works. She has not called. She has not texted. You go online and the computer boots up just like that. You connect to the internet just like that. You have a firewall too. And a password for your wi-fi. You go to that website and buy that shirt you were looking at last week. You put your credit card in and hit send. The same credit card you gave to the waiter earlier that day. You check your emails. She has not emailed. You know she hasn't because there is no email from her in your in-box. Or in your spam. She has not communicated at all. She has not texted, called, or emailed because your phone and computer said so. You check your phone again. 

It is late when your wife arrives. You are already in bed reading a book about the Gulf War. She opens the door and you see her hair is messy. Her clothes are wrinkled. Her hair looks askew. She tells you a story. She tells you how her car broke down on the way home and her phone died and no one would stop and help so she walked the whole ten miles home. You ask where the car is and she says some street near her office. You wonder if you heard a car pull up before you heard her open the front door. She goes to the bathroom and takes a shower and brushes her teeth and gargles with mouthwash. She tells you what she heard about Syria. She tells you she loves you. You look at her and tell her you love her too. When she falls asleep, you go the bathroom and reach into the hamper to check her clothes.