You learn a lot about people as you wait in line at the dump.
Killing the engine and leaning back in the seat of the truck, Paul’s gaze fell over the man–and it’s always a man, you rarely spy a woman at the dump–a few vehicles ahead of us. Dropping the tailgate of his Ford Ranger, he began to wrestle with boxes of discarded items that hadn’t been seen by most of us since the 1980s.
“I’ll bet you anything his wife made an ultimatum that he clean out the garage,” Paul said.
“Yep,” I agreed. “In fact, I’ll raise your bet that every man here was given that ultimatum. There’s no way of getting out of cleaning out the garage when you’re on lock-down.”
Our subject dragged fistfuls of long discarded cords and what looked to be a beige Commodore 64. His next reach into the back of the pick up revealed a cumbersome Macintosh monitor, the size of a small pony.
“Bet he’s a programmer!” I guessed.
“Could be anything,” Paul retorted. “Except a salesman. He could be selling all that stuff for a fortune on E-bay.”
“You’re not bringing that home,” I said.
“I wasn’t going to,” Paul replied, annoyed.
Next in line was a maroon SUV whose occupant dragged out two, garishly yellow bean bag chairs, ripped and spilling ‘beans,’ followed by a video storage cabinet missing its door.
“Somebody had one helluva rec-room,” I mused. “I’m waiting to see if Super Mario Brothers comes out next.”
“It’s crazy what people hang onto,” Paul agreed.
And then it was our turn. We were directed to the land fill area to deposit rolls of old, rusted chicken wire Paul had taken down when we replaced a sizable portion of our pasture fence, as well as broken fence posts. Leaving him to do most of the heavy lifting, I mooched around, face mask in place, gloved hands in my pockets.
Returning home, we’d gone about three miles before Paul glanced over.
“What the hell is that in your lap?”
“You’re bringing home a nasty old potato clock from the dump? You just told me I couldn’t bring anything home.”
“Yours was just about money. Mine’s about an environmentally friendly way to run a digital clock.”
“Well, it’s not coming into the house until you completely disinfect it. Then completely disinfect the truck. Then completely disinfect yourself.”
I looked down lovingly at my new clock. It still had its alligator clips and we had plenty of galvanized nails at home to grab the required couple. But copper wire? For sure we didn’t have any copper wire at home. I glanced over at Paul, his face impassive, his jaw set.
Probably better to wait on the wire for the next trip to the dump.