Live Free or Die! And haul your own garbage, sissy.
Truly, I live in the land of promise. And gun racks. But that is a different story.
Long ago and far away, when I was a young girl, I dreamed of my life when I was all grown up. My dreams were very detailed. Oddly enough, although I often dreamt that I would have two children–one boy and one girl–I never once thought that those children would, in fact, cry if one of them found out they’d missed (or was going to miss) a trip to the dump.
Yep, going to the dump is cause for major celebration. The dump is a happening spot. Many locals travel there each and every week, and word is that it’s the best place in town to get some good gossip. Me? My feeling is, hey, it’s a dump. It’s smelly and crowded and I most certainly do not want to talk about people behind their backs over by the comingled plastics. But I am apparently in the minority.
I pay a monthly fee to have my garbage taken away by an independent hauling company. This is because my garbage cans smell like someone died inside them, are often infested with earwigs (WTF?), and I would rather gnaw off my own leg than put those cans inside my nice clean car. I intend to someday put a hitch on my car and get a small trailer–as most townies do–to haul the smelly stuff. For now, I only visit the dump with my (non-smelly) recycling. This means I only have to go to the dump once every few months.
Monkey and I loaded the car, which is to say that I loaded the car while he danced in circles of unbridled joy around and around me. “I will help you! I can put the cans in! I can throw them newspapers very high up! We’re gonna do the re-psychic-ling!” Because I am a moron, I brought my empty newspaper container inside and filled it from the stack threatening to topple out of my garbage cabinet. Once the container was full? That’s right. I couldn’t lift it. So we dragged it to the door and then partially unloaded it and… okay, eventually I got it into the car and I don’t think I gave myself a hernia.
Then I carefully tucked in the big plastic garbage can full of cans and bottles. (Approximate contents: 20 flattened gallon milk containers, 5 flattened orange juice jugs, 46 flattened Diet Coke With Lime cans, 2 soup cans, 1 Tide container, and 3 beer bottles. I am a party animal, I tell you.)
And we were off at last!
We drove across town and arrived at the dump in record time. I haven’t ever been there during the week, I realized as we pulled in. Unlike Saturdays–when it is an absolute zoo–it was very calm and sort of nice. Ahhhh. In a fit of goodwill I made our first stop the “Still Good” shed to let Monkey poke around. The idea behind the “Still Good” shed is that–stay with me, now–you leave things there that are… still good. For other people’s use. The reality of our town’s “Still Good” shed is that people leave any old crap they don’t want to have anymore, so it’s rare to find anything of use there. But I let Monkey look around for a bit and then we got back in the car and headed up the hill to the recycling.
Now the fun began. First we had newspaper races; running back and forth between the recycling trailer and the back of the car, grabbing handfuls of newspaper and throwing them over the little retaining wall inside the trailer. After a bit my container was light enough to lift, so I took it inside the trailer and we just took turns seeing who could throw sections of the paper highest on the mound. Monkey was still trying to wing the Target flyer with all of his might when someone else came in, and thankfully she was amused at his efforts. Often I get the “how dare you let your child be here in my way when I have important gossiping to do” glare from people when I let the kids help.
Newspapers done, we moved on to the comingled bin. I passed containers to Monkey and he chucked them into the bin. Great fun. Lather, rinse, and repeat at the aluminum cans bin. The cans take longer because the opening is higher up, and Monkey has to throw them in one at a time, and screams at me if I dare to put anything in, myself. Two people ended up waiting behind us and both of them were pleasant. The woman smiled at Monkey and the man said “Instilling good habits early!” and ruffled his hair. This was lovely, but weird, because no one has ever been nice to us at the dump before. Maybe they were from a different town. Or maybe the Real Recyclers come during the week and I’d made the mistake of always coming on Saturday when the Gossipers Masquerading As Recyclers were running amok. I can’t say for sure.
We drove back down the hill and stopped at the Book Shed on our way out. We tend to be much more successful at the Book Shed than we ever are at the “Still Good” shed. Granted, the Book Shed is overrun with cheesy Harlequin novels, but there are sometimes good finds there. Monkey picked a book and we picked a book for Chickadee and I picked a few books and we found a couple of brand new coloring books.
A successful trip, all in all.
We returned home and I was puttering around, drinking a Diet Coke With Lime, and when I finished it I tossed it into the recycling can. Monkey peered over the edge of it and said, “I think we’re gonna need to go to the dump again soon!”
Maybe we can have the next birthday party there. Instead of goodie bags I’ll just give each kid a big sack of crushed cans to chuck into the bin. And everyone can take a trip to the Book Shed and pick out an ancient volume of Childcraft to take home. Hmmmmm….