Taking out the trash: May 20, 2017

Dear Mr. VP,

I’d like to tell you a story about trash.

It’s my weekend to myself, i.e. the two days in which I try to cram in everything that’s difficult (or impossible) to do while Giles is here: seeing friends, dating, cleaning the house, working out, spending time reading by myself, sleeping. Something always gets chopped from this list (usually sleeping).

These weekends also mean finally getting the chance to take out my trash. I don’t have curbside pick-up. I keep our trash in a bin by the house, and then at some point I transfer it all into bright orange town trash bags and lug it over to our dump, where inevitably some locals are standing around and drinking coffee and chatting, like it’s a diner and not a landfill.

For the past few months (maybe four?) I’ve been ignoring a trash bag deep in the bottom of my trash bin. For awhile, I didn’t take it because it was actually frozen to the trash bin and to try and remove it would have ripped the bag open. Then, I didn’t take it because everything melted and the thought of reaching my hand down into the trash bin and picking out the wet and sticky old trash bag was so abhorrent that it was better to just leave it and hope maybe it would magically disappear all on its own.

Well, it’s been hot in New England, and this morning when I opened the trash bin outside to collect everything for a dump run, I was bowled over by a smell so terrible I almost vomited. It was like someone had dumped six gallons of rotten milk in the bin and then maybe two rabid raccoons had crawled in and died while snacking on some limburger cheese and anchovies.

“I guess today is the day I have to deal with this,” I mused. Holding my breath, I reached into the big green bin and hauled out a soggy, limp, horrifically smelly bright orange trash bag. With some forethought (though it turns out, not enough), I grabbed a towel and put it down in the back of my car so that if the bag leaked, it wouldn’t leak onto the car itself. I drove to the dump (thank God only three minutes away) with all the windows open trying to breathe as little as possible. At the dump, I practically sprinted the bag to the trash compacter, though I was not fast enough to prevent the rancid liquid seeping out of the bag from oozing onto my clothes and legs.

Driving home, I could smell myself. I could smell my car. Both my car and I smelled like we’d rolled around in a fresh field of manure and then bathed in the Gowanus Canal. At home, I took everything out of the trunk and sprayed the fabric with some sort of hippie essential oil cleaner. Still smelled. I hauled the removable piece out of my car and stuck it in my shower with the water on as hot as possible. It still smelled. Now it’s sitting in my driveway in the sun, in the hopes that nature will magically cleanse it of its disgusting odor.

In my time in the shower, I pulled out all my most pleasant and strong smelling bath products and layered them on like it was the night of an eighth grade dance. If I had Bath and Body Works spray in the house, I’d use it. But also during my time in the shower, which is honestly where I do all my best thinking, a light bulb went off.

Gosh. What a metaphor.

Over the past few days, I’ve seen a number of articles discussing the problems with impeachment of 45 (and I’m not talking arguments about the PROBABILITY of impeachment, which is another story altogether, but rather arguments against impeachment itself). Like this one. Most of them center on the fact that you’d become President, and you’re pretty awful too. Some note that the process would just be too messy and not worth the time and effort.

Arguing that our treasonous president, who has clearly been obstructing justice, shouldn’t be impeached because it might be sort of a messy process and things won’t be perfect afterwards because you’re not an excellent presidential option is a lot like my trash situation.

I should have dealt with the trash bag four months ago, but I let it sit. I picked off some of the less offensive trash bags (…Michael Flynn?) one by one, but that didn’t solve the actual problem, which was the heinously rotten bag at the bottom of the bin. It wasn’t until I finally decided it had gotten too disgusting to deal with another time that I started to solve the problem. My life after the pitching of my trash isn’t perfect — there’s going to be a lingering trash smell for some time, because I let whatever was in that bag fester for too long and now it’s created a Constitutional crisis — but if I’d let it sit for even longer who KNOWS what sort of other-worldly creature could have been birthed in its nauseating depths. But it might have looked like this:


Got it, America? We all need to take out our bright orange trash. It’s going to be messy and we’ll all need a collective shower afterwards, but it’s a necessary step to righting things again.




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