David Rafferty The dump: A mystical destination
Would you like to find inner peace? Cleanse yourself of the weight and baggage holding you back from being able to see clearly?
In Greenwich we have many options for this kind of self-discovery. Yoga, both hot and other.
Meditation, spin class and the seemingly insatiable market for personal self-help gurus, trainers and life coaches.
But I am here today to bring to you, my fellow Greenwichites, the path to true happiness.
I am here to enlighten you as to how you can eliminate stress, simplify your life, and be reaffirmed in the goodness of your fellow man. You need not commit to any church, studio, ashram or book club. For the path to your salvation is not just here on the earthly plane, it’s right in your back yard.
Behold, the dump.
Yes my friends, the dump. Or as it’s properly named: the Holly Hill Resource Recovery Center. Aptly named because the key to your enlightenment is right there in the word Recovery.
For to the unenlightened, the dump seems to exist merely as a way station for relieving one’s self of trash.
But it also exists to recover the parts of your life that have become burdensome both physically and spiritually. Walk the dump road with me on the road to personal recovery.
Our journey begins at the Goodwill trailer by the entrance, waiting to relieve you of the clothes that have become too tight, too big, too ugly or no longer trendy. You’ve looked into the physical manifestation of your psyche — your walk-in closet, brimming with season upon season of must have fashions — and determined that for peace of mind there are definitely some things you can do without. Some of those things could go to the local consignment shop, but no way are you going to risk seeing someone else in your clothing, so away to Goodwill it goes. The closet seems lighter now, airier. Your burdens have just started lifting.
Recycling is next. With single-stream it makes it simple to dispose of all your accumulated paper and plastic, all those reminders of your enormous carbon footprint, which can be purged into the maw of gigantic recycling containers, to be somehow magically reconstituted into something valuable and necessary. I am helping the Earth, you say, by consuming less of it.
Like magic or religion, this is what you choose to believe, ergo you can feel good about yourself.
Turn around and you are face to face with the community book swap. Forget your Kindle for a moment and remember the feeling of holding a book in your hand.
Actually reading a book is strongly advised, but just having books makes you look and feel smart, and bringing one to the beach is still a great way to impress your neighbors.
Take a book from the swap if you like, but since this personal journey is about decluttering your soul, bringing your favorites books and seeing them passed along to someone else who might enjoy them constitutes a serious mitzvah.
Now in every great journey you reach a fork in the road, and following the path at the dump next requires either a left or right turn. Go left and the heart of the dump, the trash pile, confronts you. The Sisyphean mound of ever growing and unending piles of trash representing the end of useful life for so many things that we consume.
The smell and the roar of the machinery put an exclamation point on the finality of what we leave in this section. It is trash. We never want to see it again.
Turn right, however, and your cleanse continues. The incredulous looks you get at Electronics as we unburden ourselves of useless fax machines, VHS players, firewire cables, plus all the perfectly fine gadgets that were replaced with newer models at Christmas.
Then it’s giving up scrap metal and lawn debris and suddenly you are at the end. Lighter physically and spiritually than when you arrived, you have followed a path that simplified your life, allowed you to share with others, helped you reconcile your connection with the planet, and it didn’t cost you anything. You’re welcome, but don’t thank me. Thank the dump.
David Rafferty is a Greenwich resident.