Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Smashin' Trash

One of the apartments I lived in post-college had a dumpster about 15 feet from my door. This was awesome.

It was awesome because we didn't have to put our trash cans out in the street like regular chumps, we could hurl it into the dumpster from the porch like kings. With a regular load of trash, you'd sort of swing it in your arm a few times to get some centrifugal force going,* then watch it fall in an inspiring arc into the dumpster. And if some of the garbage didn't make it in to the dumpster, well, that was some garbage guy's problem. We tried.

Over the winter, my roommate and I instituted "Gin and Tonic Winter." This meant that we bought a huge bottle of Kash and Karry gin and made gin and tonics around a fire that we made by burning sticks and pallets, sometimes grilling hamburger patties that he liberated from his job at Burger King. It was classy and sophisticated.

One of my hazy memories from Gin and Tonic Winter was going around to every woman in attendance (which probably wasn't too many) and saying, "You wanna come inside and see my new widescreen TV?" To which my friend Pat would say, "Hey, you don't have a widescreen TV," to which I would respond with a comical "SHHHH!" This line/routine did not work.

Around this time, Gainesville had become a magnet for the homeless. Not regular down-on-their-luck, Brother-can-you-spare-a-dime homeless, but homeless wrapped up in countercultures. There was a big Rainbow Gathering in Ocala, and several of the Rainbowers stuck around Gainesville for a while, begging for change looking like a costumer took all the dirtiest elements from hippies and punks with a little bit of raver and threw them all together with a little Pigpen dust.

They never seemed to come around our gin and tonic bonfires, probably because the class and sophistication I spoke of earlier would have made them feel unwelcome.

The day after one of our parties I was cleaning up, gathering bottles and whatever other trash was left in the house. These were pre-recycling days. I took my first bag and started swinging. This thing was heavy, loaded up with who knows how many beer bottles, as well as our usual weekly trash. I got it swinging pretty high, but decided maybe I should just walk the 15 feet over to the dumpster and act like a normal person just this one time.

I walk over with my trash and hear a noise before I dump it in. Holding my breath against the garbage smell, I peek in. Looking up at me like Gollum was a dirty face-tattooed dumpster diver who narrowly missed getting brained with a ton of bottles.

I always checked the dumpster before throwing stuff off the porch after that.

*Honestly, I don't know if that is centrifugal force at all, but it sounded very sciencey and smart.

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