Sunday, July 16, 2006

On Trash Mountain

We always try to keep a sharp eye towards recycling when tearing down chicken coops and ripping out fetid carpets, but a point comes in every project when the only solution is a trip to the dump. Not to mention, amazing recycling opportunities abound at the dump…it’s not just for trash anymore! Back-in-the-day, there was even a sales area where you could find any number of dented metal office desks and old TVs that probably work great, all at very low prices. They did away with that though, and due to liability concerns, they discourage scrounging in the metal-mountain of endless broken beach chairs and cast-away kitchen appliances.

Nevertheless, I highly recommend visiting the dump for cheap entertainment, meeting fascinating people, great ocean views (from this particular locale), and best of all…aromatherapy. It’s strange that the dump doesn’t rank higher in the tourism brochures as a great activity to do with the kids. Just try not to get splashed by every sanitation engineer’s worst nightmare: Dump Juice.

Just in the 500-bazillion times I’ve been there over the last 4 years, I’ve watched things change drastically at the local landfill. The toxic mountains have grown taller, the views improved, and countless crews of guys doing community service for their DUI’s have come and gone. Unfortunately, a dire threat is looming ever closer in these modern times of over-population, resource squandering and the excessive consumerism of our beloved culture…the landfill being full. Probably due to government spending on bombing the heck out far away countries, they now don’t have enough money in the county coffers to even keep the dump open on Sundays. Whatever can we do? Sundays will never be the same.

On the good side, they’ve improved things to the point where they don’t make you back your truck, gears a-smoking, over nail-infested mud wallows to dump your trash. It’s much more civilized. You follow the signs to a place mysteriously called the “Tipping Area”, which is completely paved and not quite as foul smelling as the actual trash mountains themselves. Plus, it’s great fun to watch their ingenious method of attaching an old mattress to a bulldozer to shove all the trash into one spot. It works great, and the mattresses reach a point of degeneration that is truly astounding.

There is always one emotionally-bereft moment that occurs in each trip though. I’m standing in the back of the truck or trailer, knee deep in concrete rubble, plastic bags of moldy insulation, etc, breathing serious halitosis in my little pig-nosed dust mask, lifting each repulsive item and hurling it out one at time, trying to keep good form so I don't wreck my back, when a man drives up in a shiny new dump truck, and with a few presses of buttons and pulling of levers, painlessly empties his truck in one fell swoop. I admit to feeling great pangs of jealousy and resentment towards that man. This is called "Dump Envy."

1 comment:

  1. So sad. I use to love Sunday afternoons at the dump.