Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Monday, March 14, 2005

Next, They'll Evict Oscar The Grouch

It’s getting harder and harder to throw stuff away around here, and I don’t know who to blame. Not the attendant at the dump – that would be unfair. The county commissioners maybe, but somehow I doubt they keep up with the garbage situation. Maybe there’s a county garbage czar – someone who was appointed for life twenty years ago because his grandmother was a Democrat and his grandfather was a state trooper who got shot down in the line of duty. Something like that. Someone out there is making decisions, and I don’t approve.
The latest hurdle in the process of simple garbage disposal is the compactor at the Hot Springs dump. I’ve avoided the Spring Creek dump for that very reason – the compactor. Used to be you could drive down to Hot Springs and let your garbage be free, but no more. They’re squeezing everything everywhere.
It’s an issue of compartmentalization. There used to be a big wide open green dumpster and who could throw anything in there. I mean, no anything – you had to separate things like paint cans and car batteries, but, really, no one was looking to closely and you were limited only be your personal sense of ethics. Not any more. They’re watching. And you need to be able function with-in their labels.
The dumpster with the compactor – that’s for garbage. That’s, like, potato chip bags and cereal boxes and diapers and the plastic they put on CD cases. Then there’s the big open dumpster – that’s for household trash. By that they mean old sofas and broken clock radios and broken Christmas tree ornaments and throw rugs that a cat peed on. Then there’s the metal dumpster. That’s for broken tricycles and broken barbecue grills and old roofing tin and lawn furniture.
There are no other options.
Anything you want to throw away must fit in one of those three options or you don’t have garbage. Their little system is fine for innocuous little suburban homes with innocuous little people throwing away innocuous little Glad bags, but this, by God, is a farming community. People have barns on one side of the house and fifty year old Buicks on the other side and old canning sheds on yet another, and all of them are filled with trash. And it has to go somewhere.
Here’s a recent sampling from yours truly: the inevitable linoleum, plastic pipe with a rusty old faucet that I plowed up in the field, broken glass from what must’ve been a window, gobs and gobs of fiberglass insulation soaked with rain water and rat pee, potting soil bags filled with broken plastic cell-packs, baby shoes from a previous occupant, produce boxes full of greenhouse plastic remnants, each with a patina of algae, a shredded tarp, crumpled window screen, empty motor oil cans, empty anti-freeze cans, and that plastic they cover CD cases with. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Objects that clearly defy categorization. So I’m pulling stuff out of the back of the truck and asking the attendant where it goes. He’s as confounded as I am. "Hell, just put it anywhere, son."
"But where’s it supposed to go?" I asked.
"Well, what is it? Ah, well, that goes in … ah …well …." He doesn’t function well with-in systems, either.
"There’s just too many categories," I pleaded.
He tried to be upbeat. "There’s not too many. Well, there’s this one, and there’s that one, and, then, there’s that one over there. That’s not too many."
"But where do old baby shoes go?"
"How old are they?"
"I don’t know. I dug ‘em up under the chicken coop when I was laying water line."
"Well, hell, son, just throw ‘em in there."
"What about pieces of a styrofoam cooler mixed with an old mop head and some roofing nails."
"Just throw it away, son. Just throw it away."
I wasn’t surprised when they passed the anti-billboard legislation. I’m not surprised as Main Street goes more and more upscale. I’m not surprised as land prices sky-rocket and taxes go sky high. But I didn’t think the dump would get gentrified.
There’s hope. Before I left, I asked the attendant about the cardboard boxes near the back fence of the dump. He’d turned some cardboard boxes up-side down, covered them with plastic and weighed them down with rocks.
"Those are cat houses, son. There’s lots of cats around here."
Enjoy them while you can. Zoning is right around the corner.


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