In the underneath

August 1st, 2008 § Comments Off on In the underneath § permalink

After seven seasons of construction, we finally got round to dragging things to the dump. We’ve been talking about it for years: We would rent a van, borrow a truck, call someone to remove it. While we deliberated, our “pile” got out of hand. It was an eyesore. We couldn’t wait any longer. We needed to haul.

We started by purchasing a burn-out barrel. For $14 at the local lumberyard, you can get a lovely yellow steel barrel that will incinerate all of your end-cut woes. We brought it back in the car, positioned it in an open spot, then lit the fire. It burned for four days straight, flames dancing against the sky like the fires of Middle Earth. The barrel blackened, its molten belly glowing in the night. Each morning, coals smoldered at the bottom, ready to begin burning again.

As we excavated the pile for burnable wood we made an amazing discovery. A young red-spotted newt had taken up residence between two pieces of moldy chipboard. Colonies of ants exploded from between old shingles, frantically trying to save their cream-coloured eggs. Frogs and snakes occupied dark spaces. Our pile housed an entire ecosystem. We had to be careful to ensure the denizens were safely relocated. And then we continued to burn.

But the barrel couldn’t solve all our problems. There were bags of insulation discards, an old skylight, shingles, tar paper, frayed ropes, spent propane cylinders,torn tarps. We would have to go to the dump.

We loaded the car then set out once again to the local lumberyard. Surely someone there would know where we could offload our trash.

Not so. A huge debate ensued. Several customers argued with the man behind the cash. Phone calls were made. No one could agree as to which dump we were supposed to use. Tags needed to be purchased, palms greased, special handshakes performed. We left the lumberyard more confused than ever.

Determined to get rid of our junk, we drove to the nearest site, praying the gods of trash would look kindly upon us. Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the 506. Turning into the drive, we frightened a young black bear standing in front of a sign on the gate. “Bears may be present” the sign declared. It was the first bear we’d seen in our seven years on the land.

Pulling through the gate, we stopped by a small shack. A man appeared like a border guard, asking if we had anything to declare. He squinted suspiciously into the trunk at our bags.

“Where you comin’ from?”

My voice quaked as I answered. The man squinted again.

“Five dollars,” he finally said. “But next time, you’re gonna need tags.”

“Yes, of course!” my husband and I chimed.

We followed his instructions to the letter, putting our garbage in the appropriate piles as we scanned the mountains of discarded treasure. The place was a goldmine.

We picked around, trying to look casual. And then we saw them: three vintage cruisers with loads of street cred. All they needed was a little TLC.

We drove home with the hatch open, the bikes crammed in the back of the car. One man’s garbage…

Where am I?

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