thE dUMP

As I have previously mentioned, I am getting ready to move. To Los Angeles.

My Parents are getting ready to move to Sacramento

My Brother is finishing moving to a new, cheaper apartment.

My other brother is trying starting to move into an old, cheaper apartment.

Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.

Green family on the move!

Anyway, this creates a problem, or at least a difficulty. We are ALL moving, and we would all normally help each other with the moves. But it’s a little difficult choreographing everybody’s different moves. I mean, when it comes down to it, you are responsible for your own stuff. And when it really comes down to it, you are Liable for your own lease. So you can’t wait on everybody else to be done.

Well, we are doing our best to help each other out, and all of us are suffering extended bouts of sore moving-muscles. There is so much to be done!

Dad, the man for the job, has been making multiple trips IN ONE DAY to Sacramento, getting all his stuff taken over there. My brother has been coming to terms with the excessive amount of personal possessions he owns.

And there are the inevitable trips to the DUMP.

Ah, the dump. I remember the dump as a child. Dumps in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s in Alaska were a big pit in the ground. I am sure that many people bypassed the dump altogether and just threw their stuff in a ravine, on or off their property, whatever. But we did not do that. Keep America clean! or something…There were a lot of signs up on the way to the dump:

“Watch out for bears.”

Bears were very attracted to the dump. It was a smorgasbord for them. But the reason that you had to be careful of the bears is that there was absolutely no separation of the trash. No separation of YOU from the trash, and no separation of the trash from amongst itself. There was simply a huge pile, or a huge amount of trash in a hole. The bears would go through it, tossing aside balls of disposable diapers to get at that lovely bit of uneaten cheeseburger. I knew of and knew personally many people who also sorted through the trash for treasures. I myself could not help glancing at the strange items mixed in with the nasty cans and plastic. There could very well be perfectly good items in this pile. If I recall correctly, there were posted days when people were allowed in to scavenge. Why not?

The dump in Santa Clara was not this type of bear-friendly free-for-all dump. It made me think of some kind of industrial-age hell nightmare.

The stench was quite amazing. I am not sure if all dumps are this smelly–I know that all dumps are odorous–but it was stinky. This one had the added benefit of having a sewage treatment plant next door. Why not? Good city planning to put the two together, if you ask me.
Have one big ball of stink instead of two.

Wow, it was stinky.

But it wasn’t enough just to dump it and run. NO! There were types and classifications of trash, and each had to be handled in its special way. Concrete was special, it must be put THERE. Dirt is something else, and must go over THERE. Cardboard goes here, and paper there. Ordinary trash goes in a different place. And, oh my goodness! Nothing toxic. You are only allowed to throw away poisonous things once a month, between 8:00 AM and 1:00 PM on a Saturday.

Regular trash had to be put in a different place from all of these.

And they couldn’t leave any of the trash alone! There were huge bulldozers pushing it around, and scooping it up to move it to a whole nother place. For a reason that I could not understand, there was a complicated trash blower, that took the regular trash from a hidden area down below and brought it up through a tube, blowing it out of the open mouth about 40 feet in the air. The trash shot out in an arc, landing on a pile that the bulldozer could then play with.

The wood trash section was run through a gigantic chipper; a big pile of damp-looking wood mulch lay around the back.

It was mysterious, appalling and impressive.

So was the stench. Because of the difficulty of understanding their sorting system, we had to be there a long time, dropping off the multitude of different kinds of trash in all of its correct drop-off receptacles. It was powerful. I really wished I had an Altoid. That might have helped.

But it descended into your stomach through your nose and mouth and sat there evilly.
It was quite a place. It took me half the day to recover.