Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Man Cave: Dump Tripper

It stinks. It's unsanitary. It is an unseemly collection of all things half-eaten, worn out, used up, rotten, maggot-infested, and broken-down. It is flotsam and jetsam -  a sea of debris deemed no longer fit for human society. So what is it about going to the dump that makes it such a cool male bonding experience?

Or did I just answer my own question?

I remember going to the dump with my dad when I was a kid. It was always a noteworthy experience. I remember how mature I felt announcing to anyone that would listen "I'll be back in a while....I'm going to the dump." It was a right of passage, a step into manhood.

Now I enjoy taking my own kids (my son, and admittedly, my daughter), and I think it's just as significant an event now as it was then. It is an occasion uncannily devoid of their electronic devices and distractions. It's just me, them, and a trailing cloud of stank; a moment ripe for meaningful conversation. Some profound parent/kid time has happened more than once on the way to the dump.

Going to the dump has all the hallmarks of the manliest activities: work gloves; an old truck; unsavory odors. You're dressed like a bum, and proud of it. You call your friends and neighbors with the news: "I'm going to the dump today....need me to take anything?" You've got a pile of crap tied down in the back of your pickup, and you've got a purpose. Everyone that sees you drive by knows that today you are getting stuff done.

Going to the dump is a badge of honor. It signifies that you have undertaken something that is generating trash too important for the regular garbage. As you unload your truck you discreetly glance around to see what the other trucks are unloading. In between handfuls of old drywall and worn out carpet you throw approving nods at the other men with important garbage. It is a brotherhood.

The dump is permanent. It is a life lesson. Once you toss an item down into that pit, it is gone forever. More than once I've seen a loose-fitting glove or an inadequately held garbage can lost to the dump. There is a sense of loss, but a greater appreciation for all the things you still have. Home. Family. Your other glove.

And manliest of all, you get to throw things from height and watch them explode, and then be driven over and crushed by a giant, merciless tractor with spiky wheels.

Oh ya....I love going to the dump.

1 comment:

  1. should we list this under "Family Fun", and "Dates" too? ;o).