Beauty Spot

It’s the topic of conversation over dinner at the club as we break into a second bottle of wine. I don’t know why but it’s always seeps into the discussion. Sandwiched somewhere between vacation plans and bellyaching about the economy.

“….no, I think the horse is priced too high but I didn’t see him. I had to run over to Beauty Spot–“
“–Oh, you were at Beauty Spot? So was I! What time were you there?”

“Around 1ish.”

“Oh, too bad, I just missed you. John was there too. We both were there dropping stuff and then you wouldn’t believe what I found…”

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that anyone talks with such enthusiasm about a trip to the dump. But I get it.

First of all, it’s utterly liberating to hurl something from the back of your truck, watch it sail into the air and smash into a million pieces atop a junk heap.

Secondly, you’ve got to love a trash-laden destination called ‘Beauty Spot.’

A visit there is unlike the anonymous pilgrimage to the county dump — which is a downright freaky experience — hello, hoards of seagulls waiting to peck your eyes out. Beauty Spot is tucked away on a little country road and it’s like Cheers — the place where everyone knows your name.

Sometimes there’s an employee manning the gate but usually he takes one look at old dented Chitty and waves us through.

The dump pile is nothing to admire — a mini-mountain of discarded building supplies and household goods. Broken toys and car parts. Moldy mattresses and sodden furniture. In the summer, the place reeks of rot.

But what you can’t miss is the crew of old men that sit on the sidelines, eyes fixed on each approaching truck as if they’re watching a tennis match. Sitting in broken bar chairs, they size up what you’re about to relinquish. And on the jersey wall they display the day’s take. What they’ve promoted from junk to salvage: a rusty lawn mower, a three-legged coffee table, a gas can, a knob-less TV, two bags of gravel, a baby stroller, a piece of plywood with a sawed-out circle, a plastic lounge chair. All bound for the dump, now bound for a new life.

If they see something that they like, they wave, stopping you in mid heave. “Hold up there, honey. I’ll take that for ya.” If you’ve got something unwieldy, there’s always someone around to give you a hand.

Admittedly, I’ve abused Beauty Spot. A sign at the entrance lists items that cannot be dumped. But I’ve found that you can deposit just about anything — paint cans, turpentine, nuclear waste — as long as you’re wearing a tank top and shorts.

But I’d like to think that those forbidden substances don’t make it to the junk heap. When the heavy-set guy in overalls smiles and says, “Sure honey, you can leave that here…” — just maybe my hazardous waste finds a new life against the jersey wall.