Cheri and I were out for our evening walk and began to get the sense that something was up in the neighborhood. I saw more than one vehicle creeping down the street, driving slowly. They were all largish --a pickup here, a van here...a pickup carrying something odd-shaped in its truckbed...as I passed by a mound of debris piled up on the curb, the light finally went off. Tomorrow was bulk trash day!
Yes, tomorrow is Bulk Trash Day. It's kind of like a holiday. Suburbanites clean out their garages and dump all the stuff they don't want on the edge of their lawn, and other folks from all around come by in the dark of night and pick it up. It's rather a festive atmosphere that sets in --the exhilaration of plundering other people's stuff, and the giddy thrill of driving off with it--all perfectly legal --and the euphoria of getting other people to haul off your junk. And whatever they don't take --the trash men will.
Several years ago, when I still lived by myself with the girls in Prairie Village, I put out my big pile of crap, that stretched the entire length of my yard, and added to the pile the double stroller that I used to push the girls around in. That double stroller had gone everywhere. Starting in New York, it had traveled up and down our street, Ellis Place, in Ossining. I had pushed it down the hill to the pharmacy, further downhill to the Farmer's Market, and then pushed it back up the torturous climb, with bags of produce hanging off it. I had pushed it to the public library, and then grunted and heaved to get it back up the steep hill to our house.
I had pushed it around New York City, that time that another woman named Carrie and I were brave enough and maybe foolish enough to take a trip to NYC with our small children. With my two girls, almost 1 and 3, and her two boys, about 2 and 4, we took the train into the city, and made our way down to the South Street Seaport. By the time we were ready to leave there, we were so exhausted from lugging our kids around, we took a cab back to Grand Central Station, instead of getting back on the subway.
I pushed the double stroller through countless malls, since going to the mall is a primary way to get out of the house and kill time when you're stuck with the kids on cold winter days. And we pushed that stroller through the dirt and mud at the Renaissance Festival.
We had really gotten our money's worth out of it, especially considering we got it used in the first place. I felt a little pang to see it go, but mostly I was also eager to be rid of the monstrosity. Even folded up, it took up valuable space in my garage. But the thrift stores wouldn't take it, because it was too old and not up to code. So I put it out the night before Bulk Trash Day, just praying that someone who needed it would pass by. I didn't live on a very busy street, so it was sort of a long shot. I hated the thought of it just being thrown out by the trash guys in the morning. I opened the stroller up and made it as visible as possible.
I was still hauling stuff out of my garage to add to my pile, when I saw a van slow down and stop next to my curb. A woman got out and looked over the stroller. She folded it up and proceeded to take it. I walked up and told her I got a lot of use out of it, and was glad to see someone take it. She said she had twin grand-daughters. Hooray!
Walking around tonight, I saw some of the oddest things. Really, you should take a stroll around your neighborhood before Bulk Trash Day. You might learn something about your neighbors. Most of the stuff is unknowable. You can't tell what the heck it is or used to be. Chunks of wood, shards of metal, pipe, rubber hosing, pieces that look like they once were furniture...Tonight, in addition to all that, I saw sitting out on the curb, an entire toilet. It looked perfectly fine. It was shiny and everything. Wouldn't you know, Cheri took it as a cue, because it was right then that she got in that peculiar squatting position of hers and went number 2 in the grass. I'm not making that up. A few houses up the street from ours, I saw a Christmas tree. Not an artificial Christmas tree. A real one, that was all dried up and sorry to be seeing April. They sure hung on to that a long time!
Since we hadn't put out anything, I worried that Roger had forgotten. We had both gotten excited a couple of weeks ago, when we saw Bulk Trash Day on some calendar. I started dreaming out loud about the things we might throw out. Well, now Roger was in Topeka doing a gig, and wouldn't be back until late. Darn. I think I know what we'll be doing early in the morning.