Due to some strange new phenomenon I’ve now come to know my best days from my worst on account of trash. My best; characterized by a mindset of optimism, generosity, and openness to what the day may bring. My worst; a petulant state of impatience, judgement, and irritability resulting from a vastly over-inflated sense of self. While not unique in this duality perhaps my perspective will be.
From morning to evening I traverse Chardon on foot. It’s my favorite way to interact with the city. I’m always on my way to somewhere; comittments I 100% enjoy and 100% took on of my own volition (on one of my best days). On good days, I see a piece of trash lying on the sidewalk and think, pleasantly, this doesn’t belong in our postcard town, surely it was blown from a nearby trashcan by a gust of wind. I bend down, pick it up and return it from whence it came. On bad days I still see the trash but keep walking. I think, annoyed, a careless person must’ve dropped this and surely they had the flu at the time so I’d better let someone else pick it up, someone with gloves and whose job it is, because with my very limited time and all my very important things to do, the very last thing I need is to get sick. I’ve gotten in my own way again and the trash lying there confirms it. Were I to pick it up I could change destiny.
As a dedicated over-thinker I’ve almost certainly devoted way too much time to the contemplation of garbage. At home, it’s the place I strategically discard random trinkets the kids collect throughout the week, where I bury my snacking transgressions beneath sticky styrofoam packages of organic boneless skinless chicken breast, and once where I mistakenly tossed a $10 bill at the end of a particularly exasperating day. Our trash says a lot about us. It speaks of our daily existence with greater honesty than our social media profiles, with more impartiality than our smart phones, more completely than the contents of our refrigerators. Our waste bins swallow our secrets as well as our half-heartedly torn credit card offers but unfortunately, in both instances, they don’t always keep them. I remember vividly the morning I walked down my driveway to retrieve our can after trash pickup only to find my empty jumbo-sized, generic bottle of antacid chewables staring back at me from the double yellow line of Ferris Avenue. Shame.
Yet like the days leading up to Christmas, it’s this very week that annually replenishes my metaphorical bin to overflowing. And if Chardon’s performance of 2018 is any indication, I’m in good company. For tomorrow, my fellow city-dwellers, is our yearly Trash Day (please hold your applause). All week long households have been busy amassing heaping piles of amorphous Fisher Price furniture, cracked bed frames, broken fishing poles, mysteriously stained mattresses and all manner of other accumulated detritus wrenched from the deepest reaches of attics, garages, and basements, the backs of closets and the farthest recesses of children’s toy boxes. Sometime Wednesday these piles began gradually creeping toward treelawns, seemingly of their own accord, apparently as sick of us as we are of them. We dusted off our grimy hands, awarded ourselves a gold star and pledged unending devotion to the tenets of minimalism before wandering back indoors and whispering smugly to our spouses, “Did you see the neighbor’s pile, sheesh?!” The flame, thus having been lit, triggered the moths.
We all know the saying “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” I, myself, have been known to conduct a drive-by or two in search of a unicorn; that rare, in tact, unmarred, upholstered lounge chair who’s wealthy owner simply became tired of looking at it. That very sentiment is what nearly brought two grown men to fisticuffs last year about 10:45pm, the night before Trash Day. It was an all-out boiler brawl at my neighbor John’s house, one man hammering away at the brass attachments while the other much preferred the appliance fully assembled. A true spectator sport, there’s nothing like peeking out your window at midnight to see trucks parked crossways on a residential street, headlights angling into a toppled pile of junk. Having once paid $50 to recycle an enormous old television set generously donated by the previous owner of our Colorado house, I can say with confidence that this public service is (almost) priceless.
And what is it, exactly, that’ll grace the end of the Meyer family driveway this year? Sean’s malicious threats of microwave disposal notwithstanding, we’ll be offering up our perfectly functional Char-Broil propane grill (snagged from the Ryan’s pile this time last year), four white plastic lawn chairs, and three rolls of much-abused outdoor carpet cut to lengths no greater than 3’.
Now, we all know the rules for tomorrow (if not, find them here). Pay close attention to the items in bold. And if you feel compelled to rebel, as did the resident whose actions precipitated the above photoshoot, please remember our hardworking garbage collectors who are privy to all your dirty little secrets.
Chardon, I never knew you had such a dark side.
PS. If you see my microwave out on the curb please carry it back to the front porch for me.