Layce and I are both big into decluttering our lives which entails getting rid of things that have served their purpose but have exceeded their expiration dates. If we cannot donate or recycle the thing, it goes to the dump. We gathered our un-useables and made our way to the refuse station.
This was my first experience of going to the city dump in Tahlequah. We pulled up to pay.
“That’ll be ten dollars,” the Refuse Facilitator said. It’s politically incorrect to call him the “Dump Guy.”
“So how long until we can get in?” Layce said.
“A lil bit, I expect,” the Dump Guy, I mean the Refuse Facilitator, said.
“Like five or ten minutes?” I said. Being a foreigner to the South the “lil bit” thing always throws me. It’s like a recipe of time—a pinch of this, a dash of that. What does it mean exactly?
The Dump Guy screwed up his mouth and gazed off into the distance.
“Twenty minutes?” Layce prodded.
He hemmed and hawed (they really do that here) and said, “I reckon when that truck finishes unloading.”
I sighed in exasperation. We’d gone from the inexactitude of a “lil bit” to the complete arbitrariness of “when it’s done.” Apparently pinning down a Southern man to any approximation of time was an unattainable and unrealistic goal.
We went back to the truck and sat.
“So how does this ‘dump thing’ work anyhow?” I asked, eyeing the truck that was unloading its contents into a large covered building that was a “lil bit” smaller than an airplane hanger.
“We drive in there and unload,” Layce said.
“So all the trash is in there?” I looked at the entrance to the building suspiciously.
“Inside there,” I said, pointing to the entrance.
“Yes.” Layce didn’t met my gaze.
“So it’s like a House of Trash?”
“All the diapers, rotten food, old mattresses, paint cans, discarded shoes, pizza boxes, refuse of an undetermined origin…” I would’ve continued listing items, my voice getting ever higher and squeaky.
“Yes, that’s why they call it the dump.”
The truck departs after eight minutes. Apparently, a “lil bit” is under ten minutes. I made a note to self.
We drive in. The reek of garbage is a full on D-Day assault of the olfactory system. There is trash everywhere. It’s like the bowels of Hell. It’s the most disgusting place I’ve ever been. I open the truck door. The floor is oily.
“I should’ve worn different shoes.”
“You’ll be fine,” Layce said.
“This place is horrendous,” I said, stepping out of the truck carefully. I prayed I wouldn’t slip and fall because if I did I would never recover. They’d have to put me in a rubber room where I would scream about garbage monsters coming to get me.
We unloaded the truck as quickly as possible. I tried not to look at anything and made myself think of an Elysian field with a nice tidy red poppy border. I jumped in the truck and took my first real breath. “My God, Dante should’ve had an eighth ring of Hell—the Dump. We exited and headed toward home.
I sniffed. The inside of the truck smelled like the dump. I gave my shirt a sniff. It was still sporting its fabric softener smell. I glanced down and screamed, “It’s on our shoes!”
“Just calm down,” Layce said.
“And now it’s on the floor mats.”
“It’ll go away.”
“No it won’t. Stuff like this LINGERS,” I said. “We have to go wash the truck and the floor mats, right this instant.”
We washed the truck and floor mats.
I sanitized our shoes
I put my clothes in quarantine.
I prayed I wouldn’t have nightmare where giant chunks of garbage encircled me saying “Dump diddy dump dump dump.”
Needless to say I won’t be returning because I ‘m suffering Post Traumatic Dump Syndrome.