Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Dump day allows us to brush up against "pack-rat-ness"

Today is Dump Day. Dump Day is when the city allows its residents to haul just about anything to a collection point at no charge.

This is one of those days that we allow ourselves to brush up against our "pack-rat-ness."

It’s not that we save everything. We simply hang on to what might be useful someday.

We also cling to items that instantly wrap us in an armful of memories.

Not quite keepsakes, they preserve moments of triumph. Maybe they take us to a place where we felt completely loved. They remind us of a time that we would buy back in a heartbeat if we only could.

Dump Day was never intended to drive a wedge between husbands and wives, mothers and children, brothers and sisters over what to part with and what to keep, but it does.

Drawing a thick chalky line of demarcation between us, Dump Day causes my husband and me to takes sides while keeping score of who is not letting go.

Everything from a drawer full of snarling AC adapters to a vintage leather suitcase that belonged to my parents tax our energy and patience.

We split hairs over little insignificant things that we passed over on last year’s Dump Day and stuff that has since become useless.

A portable TV antenna, leftover wallpaper rolls from a remodel 15 years ago, a broken vacuum cleaner and unused baking dishes.

A microphone stand from the boys’ garage band, old comic books, dog-eared children’s books, grade school art and the list goes on.

I had my hopes up, thinking that we would clear several full truckloads today, but we managed only one.

We both seemed to hit a wall of resistance to opening more drawers, cupboards, boxes and plastic tubs. The thought of it totally zapped whatever zeal we may have had.

It’s just that seeing and touching yesterday chased us back through time. Before we knew it, we were all tired out. The sudden jolt of the many days that had disappeared from our collective memory startled us.

All those decisions to keep or to throw drained us like pulling the plug on a fully drawn bath.

After Brian hauled our one truckload to the dumpsite, he played on the computer for a while and then settled in for a nap. I was feeling drowsy myself and curled up beside him.

I have come to think that Dump Day is just too overwhelming if a person is not in the right frame of mind. What is the right frame of mind? I do not know.

2009 © Copyright Paula Damon. A resident of Southeast South Dakota, Paula Damon is a popular columnist and freelance writer. Her column writing has won first-place in National Federation of Press Women and Iowa Press Women Communications Contests. Recently, her work took second place in the South Dakota Press Women Communications Contests. To contact Paula Damon, email pauladamon@iw.net or join her blog at http://my-story-your-story.blogspot.com/.


No comments: