Dumpster Love


The dumpster was Martin’s idea, a few years ago. He was sick of lugging the trio of trash cans down our long, rutted drive. Or hoisting them into the pickup and chauffeuring them roadside each week. The solution? A big, green commercial receptacle, emptied bimonthly. It squats beside the barn, not far from the abandoned trash cans.

At the time, I didn’t care about disposal options. I was fine either way.

Since then, however, I’ve developed an affection for the dumpster. I like the dumpster, especially when it’s filled to the gills. Likewise, its emptiness is enticing — I feel a gravitational pull to fill the void. To toss in trash, junk, broken toys.

And other things.

“Gimmie a hand, will ya?” I asked, gesturing at the feed bin. While cleaning the barn, I’d discovered that the horse grain was moldy — unfit for consumption — and trash-worthy. I dragged the bin outside but it was too heavy and unwieldy to shoulder alone.

Martin flipped open the lid and together, we lifted the feed bin and positioned it at the edge of the dumpster. A moment before the spoiled grain spilled over mounds of kitchen trash and garbage, Martin glanced into the dumpster’s depths.

I never thought he’d look inside.

“Hey!” he shouted indignantly. “Hey! Are those my good hiking socks in there?”

I tipped the grain bin just enough to send its contents downward. An avalanche of oats, cracked corn and barley spilled out, pounding plastic bags and clattering against the dumpster’s innards. But there wasn’t enough to bury the evidence. One of the socks poked conspicuously from a mound of grain.

What are MY good hiking socks doing in the dumpster?” he asked.

“I threw them in there,” I replied.


“Because they were dirty and I didn’t want to deal with them.”

“So you threw them out instead of washing them?”

“Pretty much, yea,” I said. “When I get annoyed with you people, I throw your stuff in the dumpster. Sometimes it’s toys, camping equipment, that stupid whiffle ball set that the kids left out. It’s very cathartic. A huge stress reliever. You should try it sometime.”

Martin did not want to try it. Nor did he see the therapeutic value of a purge. My confession simply confirmed his suspicion that I’m nuts. And, he was ticked off about his socks. (Frankly, he was lucky that his filthy shoes didn’t meet a similar end.)

But I learned a lesson: Always cover your tracks. I’m not going to bag the evidence, since my throw-out therapy is spontaneous, never premeditated. But I can conceal my actions with strategically-placed garbage or empty feed bags. I can mask the contents until Thursday, when a trash truck upends the dumpster and spirits away the contents.

And leaves that big, green monster yawning and empty.

Ready to gulp down more garbage.

Or someone’s discarded clothing, wadded up on the floor. Or seldom-used art supplies. Or outgrown toys, stuffed animals, a travel mug with a missing lid, a flashlight too small to be helpful, those sunglasses of yours that I’ve never liked, that shirt — you have too many shirts anyway….

The dumpster’s hungry.

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