Back in 2014 — can barely remember the good old days any more — Guido and I agree that in 2015 we would implement The Great Divestiture, routing through rooms, closets, shelves, storage areas, etc. and shed all the unwanted/unused carpool we’ve accumulated in our 30th year of cohabitation. We give ourselves a head start over Christmas, starting with the bedroom we converted to junk and storage room, and then move on to the shed.
Ah, the shed. We need the shed because we don’t have a garage, and we’re sure as hell not going to stash the lawn equipment inside the house. But we also stuff items like leftover paint, woodworking and finishing chemicals, insecticides, plant fertilizer — products that these days are considered hazardous waste and must be disposed of properly.
I’m all for dumping it in my despised neighbor’s swimming pool, but last time we did that, Mrs. Despised Neighbor grew a second head, which means now she has two great big foul mouths to scream abuse out of, so the plan backfired. Instead we gather it all in boxes, load the car, and motor on over to the Recycling Station on Hallandale Beach Blvd.
The place is empty save for the two HazMat-suited workers and a bunch of 5-legged lizards sunning themselves on discarded turpentine containers. They (the workers, not the lizards) ask for proof of residence, which we provide, then ask if we have any electronic equipment (we don’t). Mere minutes later, the car is empty.
When I ask if we can bring unwanted books here as well, the guy frowns. “What kind of books?”
Odd question, I think. I explain I have many years’ worth of textbooks from 7 years of college education (wasted) that are out of date and/or readily available in electronic format. Odious crap like Heidegger, Husserl, Sartre, and other 20th century European philosophers.
He takes a step back. “Whoa! Don’t bring THAT shit here,” he exclaims . “That’s dangerous material!” He gestures at the containers of rat poison, nuclear waste, unexploded grenades, rusted hypodermic needles, and vials of anthrax and Ebola virus strewn about. “You wanna be careful with materials like that — you could badly hurt yourself! That shit can ruin whole lives!”
Guido nods her head in agreement. “Happened already,” she murmurs.
“You might wanna contact the CIA,” he advises. “Maybe, now that waterboarding and rectal feeding is out of favor, they can use it to develop new torture techniques.” He shakes his head and edges away a little. “Were YOU exposed to any of that?”
Well, some. It was a long time ago. I think I recovered.
“He’s still contagious,” says Guido. “Talk politics with him for 10 minutes and you’ll see.”
“Sorry, I can’t help you,” he says, worriedly. “Just be careful, won’t you? There’s millions of lives at stake!”
“I’m glad you didn’t tell him how you saved on toilet paper in grad school,” Guido says in the car, as we head back home. “You’d be in permanent quarantine by now. Hmmm.” She looks thoughtful.
Shit. Wasn’t it considerate of me to give her yet another weapon?