It’s free, but you have to haul your own. Cars and trucks wait in line with engines idling, burning gas away like the wasteful Americans we are. There’s a distinct smell to the air, a decay. In this place, it’s all endings. Or I suppose new beginnings. It depends on how you look at it.
As vehicles enter the secured area, Stockton inches the truck forward. Turning off the motor when the line halts means rolling down the windows to catch a cool breeze against the summer temps. Bad move. To catch the breeze also means to catch the smell, a cross between rubber ripening in the sun and old motor oil, a sharpness not desired.
We surrender to American ways and blast the A/C to inhale in modern convenience until we reach the gate. After a public works employee checks our ID, he gestures to an open spot at the ledge. A dozen or so vehicles are leaving, reversing, or parked in the area. Something is always moving despite the sense of death here. Stockton maneuvers the truck into place before chucking our basement junk over the ledge into the abyss.
There’s not much to look at–grays and browns contrasted only by the orange traffic cones. Even in the opposite end of the property, the piles sorted by material, appliances, it takes on a conglomerate color of blah. The glass pile would shine up nice, but those items get tossed into a walled container. Tires don’t mix well with the likes of broken glass. So I don’t look.
Instead, I listen. I hear the crunch of wheels over dusty road as other trucks enter, the shattering of objects near and far, and the roar of the bulldozer patrolling the abyss. I overhear the guy next to us say with the hint of an Eastern European accent, “I gotta say, disposing things is a bit easier than loading them.” He shuffles back to the cab of his truck.
Stockton climbs into the driver’s seat. I can sense his elation as we exit the county dump, free of basement clutter. In a few moments as we head down the road, we will be free of that stench, too. Open spaces and open windows for all. Aaaaahhhhh.