For the past 30 years, garbage day has never been my responsibility. Suddenly, this summer I had to remember to put out the recycling, the garbage, and the yard waste before 7:30am on Tuesday morning. Remembering the day was the easy part, since I’ve strategically planned my Tuesday morning runs to minimize the number of garbage cans I have to dodge. Changing the cat litter, making sure I do the outside chores to maximize the capacity of the yard waste bin, and spending too much time wondering if you get a discount if you only fill your garbage bin half full is the harder part. The more I think of it, I wonder what it would be like if there was a weekly garbage day for life.
Imagine if every week you could sort through your psychological garbage, recycling those experiences that you could reuse and learn from, throwing out the refuse, the spoils to be taken far away or buried in a landfill, and pruning, clipping, and trimming the overgrowth of your various relationships and having a place to put all the dead wood and diseased parts to be safely hauled away and composted. With a place to put the emotional garbage every week, there would never be enough time for things to get stinky, to ferment or to decay. There would be a process for sorting things out and if you were really confused, you could search for the special symbol to see if it was a compostable or a carcinogen. If the garbage bin was only half full, rather than wondering if you would get a discount, you would cheer that you had a week without a full complement of smelly trash to throw away.
Then I start to wonder where you would take or who would accept such toxic waste. I can imagine a new type of ecology where the world’s emotional trash is disguised, redistributed and recycled. Would we accept communities built upon a landfill of discarded psychological warfare, or would we buy new products re-imagined from failed relationships? Instead of doormats made from recycled soda bottles we could choose doormats made from recycled relationships. We could mulch our garden from the emotional compost from our Spring clean-up and watch in wonder what kind of things would grow from its decay. And we would all be thankful for garbage day and advocate curbside recycling.