Monday, May 26, 2014

The Dump On Cudjoe

I was out walking, as one does, and the gorgeous views were blighted by a nasty looking rag left, I hope by a fisherperson on the rail of the fishing bridge. I am not conversant with the habits of anglers but I suspect killing fish involves blood and scales and a rag might come in useful. Why it didn't end up in a convenient nearby trash can I'm not sure, but that rag set me to thinking.
The way things have been lately in my life I figured that trash was looming larger and larger on my immediate horizon and today was the day, signaled by the reeking rag, that it was time to clean up around the retired homestead before handing it over to the next occupants. So I took Robert's trailer and piled it high with an assortment of crap that should have been hauled off to the dump ages ago but I had never got round to dealing with, even using my own much smaller utility trailer...procrastination never really does pay dividends and looking around at no longer discreetly lurking piles of discarded stuff I remembered why one should clean up properly long before one is vacating. We never do though, do we? We always clean up and tidy for the next person, not for ourselves. I've done it with boats, with cars and motorcycles, so why not with a house?
I am not fond of stuff, but like cats, stuff seems to be attracted to those who dislike it most. I am terrible about throwing away stuff that could conceivably be useful one day. I hoard only books and will wear clothes long past heir dump-by date, but odds and ends that might one day find purpose and meaning in my life I discard as fast as I can. So how the hell do I keep accumulating piles of stuff? It baffles me. Anyway the pile on the trailer was big enough I attracted the attention of one of the Sheriff's motorcycle cops who fell in behind me on his green and white BMW RT1200s and he followed me through Summerland. I drove three over the speed limit, and because Robert keeps his equipment working I fearlessly used brakes and turn signals in an effort to show him everything was pukka, which was helped by the fact that the leaning tower of pizza was actually properly strapped down. Eventually he peeled off and went to find a miscreant elsewhere; no probable cause here officer...
I quite like the dump, even though I am appalled by how much we waste, and we all know that five percent of the world population in North America is responsible for 25% of the world's waste stream etc  etc... but I am astonished by how efficiently it works. Monroe County, being 100 miles long and occasionally more than a mile wide requires triple services for everything, like driver license offices, jails and hospitals even though the total population of the county (not including Key West) is around 75,000 permanent residents. So it is with the dumps in Cudjoe, Layton and on Card Sound Road. This one, off Blimp Road has always been convenient to me living just south of Big Pine Key and its open six days a week, so with mys schedule hauling crap is easy. Plue they make recycling hazardous stuff and engine oil and all that very simple too.
Sure it pongs a bit on a ninety degree afternoon but that's just the detritus of an over stuffed society. If we don't shop the economy goes south and if stuff isn't over packaged people won't buy it, they say, as a result garbage is filling landfills and threatening ground water everywhere. But hey, that's tomorrow's problem and like climate change if you don't think too much about it, it isn't real. Like I say I do think about it yet crap sticks to me in the form of unnecessary stuff. No wonder stuff sticks to people, and grows around them, those people who really don't ponder these very serious issues. People throw away three pounds of stuff each every day! in the US. 
Bob and I took a customer service course together several years ago and we renew our acquaintance when I drop by to create some open space  in my life. He took $42 off me on this occasion, giving me a perfect customer service experience, after which we caught up on the details of life. I keep expecting him to be gone but he is still here and planning his retirement as one does to go north for less cost and closer family contacts. It's the hard part of life in the Keys, most of us hang in and get used to a life as an employee. Life as a retiree frequently pushes people to seek a cheaper life Up North. And so the cast of characters changes. Change is good. Remember that. 
Driving scenic Highway One you will frequently see these covered trailers plying their way to Pompano Beach which is where the nearest available landfill is, 200 miles away. The city of Key West used to have a waste-to-energy plant that generated around a third of the city's electrical requirements. However the scrubbers wore out and rather than replace them and fight wealthy condo owners, the city yielded and ended the sensible disposal of waste.  
In the end these are not subjects we can have sensible discussions about because we live in a  world where belief trumps  knowledge and facts are pliable. People who have strong opinions push hard and heaven help them if their timelines are wrong ( they usually are as the future remains as undecipherable as ever), yet the very notion that a finite world can have finite resources is unthinkable for those in the camp who believe technology will solve all and expansion can thus be permanent. Climate change? Peak Oil? Asset bubbles? How can we even think to doubt that the future must perforce mirror the immediate past? 
For now the rates to dispose of trash are affordable, the dump is open and after an aromatic visit one can do worse than take Cheyenne for a walk and let her cool off in the increasingly acidic, rising salt waters at the end of Blimp Road. Might as well enjoy life before Armageddon and there's few better places than this, and none that I can think of right now.