Friday, December 23, 2005

Dump Day Angst

A classic small town in Maine, Acton appears to be the idyllic New England existence. White Churches, Cape Cod houses with the obligatory train of out-buildings attached so we don't have to go out into the teeth of Winter to feed the cows. Yes, Acton is chock full of Kodak moments.

This pastoral existence belies the real Acton, Maine. Behind the open fields, thick woods, and flocks of wild turkeys, an evil entity has taken root. To the casual observer, this evil would go about it's business totally unoticed. For the casual observer would most likely never have cause to visit the Town Dump. The repository for all that Acton wants no more has come under the spell of facists. They rule with an iron hand. Woe to the man who accidentally tries to slip a piece of cardboard into the hopper.

A trip to the dump used to be a social event here in town. Put on your rattiest Mainer outfit, load up the pick-up, and head down. Time there spent swapping tall tales and poking around for good stuff to bring home was a time honored tradition. Alas, this ritual has been discarded and replaced with an experience filled with fear and paranoia. When I load up for the dump now, I break out in a sweat. I hope I have sorted and collated my refuse in a manner satisfactory to the often arbitrary whims of the evil dump nazi who guards the hopper. I am often asked to open up a bag to display my garbage. I can only hope no one in the family has accidentally slipped something deemed illegal into the household trash. A mistaken leaf or piece of plastic or cardborad will bring wrath and damnation no preacher could equal. I know he is just waiting to lay into me and make me feel small for failing to dump within the guidlines.

The new rules at the Acton Dump make the Patriot Act look tame in comparison. And though we may not end up in jail for breaking the rules, after a good verbal beat down and nasty looks, jail might be kinder. The fun of dump day is now a distasteful chore undertaken out of necessity. There is no joy in tossing my garbage now. If ever there was a case for "the good ole days", the new Acton Dump is the perfect poster child.