A few weekends ago, my husband asked me on a date. After months of renovating, I was keen to spend some quality time together. But since there was still much to do on the house, he decided it would be fun if I helped him do a dump run. Okay, that’s kind of bizarrely romantic.
A dump virgin
In all my years in Calgary, I’ve never been to the dump. I was in awe the entire time. My husband had to keep reminding me to close my mouth. I was like a kid in the car with her cheek pressed up against the window trying to see this strange new place from every angle.
The thing that struck me the most was the birds. Everyone says this. The sound of birds cawing and wings flapping in an almost cloudless, bright sky makes for a heightened sensory experience. And then there’s this strange juxtaposition between the lovely earthy hills and these perfect rows of garbage waiting to be hidden under them. The dump is beautiful and hideous.
The politics of garbage
I’m not always brave enough to break rules, but this one I didn’t know I was breaking. I asked my husband to take a picture of me at the dump. I wanted to remember this. After a few model shots, one of the landfill supervisors came over and let us know that it was against the rules to take pictures at the dump. My husband, being the freedom fighter that he is, did not take well to:
a) being told what to do;
b) being asked not to take pictures on public property;
c) the city trying to hide what goes in the “landfill.”
It became clear that there’s a line between personally disposing of your garbage and the politics of commercial dump trucks coming in and not separating the recyclables from the real garbage. Just how much doesn’t need to be thrown away, but is? You don’t want to know, trust me.
Connecting with my garbage
I think it’s normal not to think much about your garbage. Instead, we spend a lot more time thinking about our recycling. But on this day, I became so much more aware of the things I throw away and where they go. I could see the bloat I was creating in the earth’s belly and I felt bad. I had this overwhelming sense of the Earth as a beautiful woman who is unwillingly being fed our crap. I felt like I was betraying a mother, someone who has literally given me life.
Strangely enough, I’ve had a lasting connection to my garbage since this fateful date. I can no longer just throw unwanted stuff away without feeling for a moment where it’s really going. It’s no longer “out of sight, out of mind.” Remember about a month ago, I broke my SLR. Well, instead of throwing it out and replacing it, I got it fixed. And instead of throwing out my gimpy suitcase with a broken foot, I got it fixed. And instead of replacing my laptop that doesn’t have a battery anymore and requires a 24/7 connection to the wall, I’m inclined to use it until it drives me to the edge of madness.
A date to remember
I’m transformed. For this, I guess I owe thanks to my husband’s unorthodox idea of love.
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