My “dump”, like all government services, is managed specifically to be a pain in the ass. The dump is locked when it’s closed (because people will steal the garbage?). It’s open on a schedule that only a committee could devise. As far as I can tell it’s open from 2:35 pm to 4:27 pm on Thursdays and from dawn until the coffee runs out on alternate prime numbered Saturdays during the summer season which runs from the spring equinox through the opening day of deer season. Following the third moon after the neap tides it will revert to winter hours which have not yet been determined but which will be posted 30 days in advance on the bulletin board behind the coffee pot at the sheriff’s office. The dump is never open on Sunday because God said so. I can’t wait until these loons run medicine!
Being the kind of citizen that government hates, a person who has a job, it’s hard to get there when its open. I set my alarm to wake early (not too early!) Saturday morning. I move at glacial speed on Saturday mornings. Sometimes I miss my chance. I’m ok with that. I’m a land owning redneck homesteader and I’ve got room to store stuff. Also Saturday morning coffee is “me time”.
I haul everything with my open topped trailer. I rarely tie the load down. I prefer to stack debris based on aerodynamics and density. It’s a game. Planning the highway speed air flows of rotten plywood flung upon light plastic bags full of “ugh” is an art and a science. There are rules to this game: Density is king (heavy stuff stays put). Anything smaller than a quarter is fair game for “aerial distribution”. Anything that leaks out is recycled as an asphalt treatment. If something whips out and lands on the roadside you lose and have to go back and pick it up. Bonus round: if it smells exceptionally bad you should take it through the nearest McDonalds drive through!
The dump, like anything run by the government, requires regrettable personal interaction with regrettable persons. The local dump has one employee. I don’t know his name. I call him “Ralph” because Ralph is a friendly name and I’m trying to curb my natural impulse to call everyone “Asshole”. I’m sure he’s a nice guy at home but at work he’s moodier than a bi-polar grizzly. Now that I think about it…he smells like a grizzly too. On a good day he’ll smile and chat and I’ll think “that Ralph fellow is such a gentleman”. On a bad day I’ll wind up thinking “he’s an asshole and I’d pay good money to have him kidnapped and shipped to Bolivia in a cargo container filled with cobras and used car salesmen.”
On my most recent “dump run” I knew it was not a good day for Ralph. He sighed like my arrival was the saddest personal tragedy he’d experienced since his childhood dog died on Christmas morning. I could see the body language at 60 paces. He should get an Oscar for that kind of overacting. He waddled over to my truck while glaring at me like I was something he scraped off his shoe. He had a battered clipboard and carried it like a Samurai Sword.
He examined my trailer as if my garbage wasn’t up to his high standards. It wasn’t. No garbage is ever suitable for the suffering and overworked Ralph. No matter what I’m carrying he always complains that I’ve mixed different kinds of materials. He does this to everyone. The only people that would fill an entire load with just one kind of material are commercial haulers with dump trucks or exceptionally large farm families with thirty seven children generating used diapers by the ton.
As always I had to listen through an annoying lecture about sorting each waste component into each location in the dump. (Hint to Ralph: I can figure out where my wood waste goes using deductive reasoning and the presence of a sixty foot pile that’s composed entirely of wood.) Luckily, I always get through the gate in a few seconds. No matter how hard Ralph tries he’ll never be anything but a genius and a hero compared to the TSA.
Once you’re through the gate you’re done with government interaction. Everything looks brighter from this point on!
Best piece of advice my brother-in-law ever gave me: Don’t make the guy who runs the dump mad at you. He may have a crappy job, but you need in, and he holds the key.