Monday, July 23, 2007

Dump Run

Few things in life are more satisfying than a dump run; we do about three a year and afterwards, for a few glorious days, our basement and back yard are emptied of stuff that has somehow accumulated, in spite of our best efforts to lead simple lives so that others can simply live, right?

The bulk of today’s stuff was construction materials left over from the studio project, a couple fairly big stumps from when the backyard apple tree was pruned last spring, and half a dozen bags of odds and ends that, all by themselves, accumulated in the basement during the winter and spring.

Dropping all this junk off at the Fremont “transfer station” was deeply satisfying, both to my bias for de-cluttering things and my occasional need to heft large objects over the edge of concrete barricades. The station itself is a trip: loud, dusty, and rather post-apocalyptic in its dark interior; but it is infused with a sense of relief as one after another, drivers arrive to divest themselves of all kinds of broken-down crap that’s been cluttering up the joint for god knows how long.

What’s scary, of course, is the sheer amount of shit that gets thrown out. We fancy ourselves fairly frugal and not all that acquisitive; still, we pile tons each year onto the collective scrap heap; this trip alone barely fit in the pickup truck and we could probably roam around the house and load up another whole run were we feeling ambitious.

I’ve been thinking how important it should be to try to clean up all your shit before you die. If I croaked today, some poor souls—mostly likely Jen and Mimi—would have to wade through several boxes of bike parts and a few old trunks with retired writings and journals. It hardly seems fair that they should have to clean up after me this way.

A dump run on my own life is in order.


Blogger Andrew Davidson said...

Dave, you are so right about the therapeutic value of "cleaning out the garage." I mean this in the metaphorical as well as literal sense.

Before we moved to Italy, I did just that -- the massive reduction of twenty years of accumulation of Stuff. It took me weeks to plow through that garage full of memorabilia (did I really still need copies of papers I wrote in college? old Playbills? concert ticket stubs?) or old typewriters I couldn't bear to part with (but one was my mother's that she used in her college days!), or my first camera that no longer worked?

In a word, no. But it took me two weeks to sort through everything and get over the emotional attachments to the things. The biggest trauma, of course, was my car, my Southern California Mid-Life Crisis-Mobile, a Miata with a custom bike rack on it. I had a melt-down over that on my last ride in it along Mulholland Drive with Springsteen cranked up on the CD player.

But then I was fine and could let go of everything and it finally felt really, really good to purge all those possessions.

7:17 PM  

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