The day was sufficiently planned, my trailer was loaded: Mom’s leaves from this entire season in large black plastic bags, and a few pieces of other customer’s junk – a 4 x 4 rotted-bottom gate post, scrap metal posts from another job, some chicken wire from a third, and a large cardboard box. The bulk was organic, I could get in for the lesser organic price, dump my stuff outside in the Organic Space for shredding and recycling, and then shuttle the lesser pieces to the inside Municipal Waste Area, I’d done it before for maximum Recycle-Reuse. Half an hour later at the “dump” (Transfer Station) in Martinez, the front office fee clerk wasn’t having it. When I defined the load as usual, he responded, “Open it,” meaning he wanted to see the load for himself. Following me back to the trailer while I unhasped the bi-folding trailer top, he said, “Mixed, $32, take it inside,” the higher rate. I countered with my plan but he was all-income driven today, recycling a portion be damned, “Take it inside, its mixed.”
Hey, it’s his business, or his employer’s business, I paid him and drove towards the huge, open metal warehouse transfer building. Here immense Caterpillar tractors pushed the dropped-off debris into large crushed piles at the far north of the building and into awaiting tractor-trailers at a lower ramp area of the building, that then hauled it off for burial somewhere else in the Central Valley, hence the name, Transfer Station.
A dump is a horrid place, it’s literally the end of the line for products of a civilization except for burial. Whatever the non-toxic product, once new and shiny, the epitome of consumerism, when it’s spent, shot, or outlived, it arrives here at The End of The Line. Against a far wall, maybe fifty old refrigerators, waited, stacked like cadavers, one upon the other, horizontally, side by side, the most efficient way of stacking – I’d never seen so many, their internal copper tubing and/or steel frames, pumps, trays and collected sheetmetal parts worth something to somebody somewhere.
The normal floor technician was not there to guide me in backing up my trailer and loosely inspecting that I wasn’t truly dropping off anything I hadn’t paid for previously. In my total disgust for Donald Trump– who I will NEVER honor with the title “president”– I saw him as the floor monitor, not far away, complete with soiled, baggy worker clothes and florescent-backed jacket, his safety apparel to keep him from being crushed by the back and forth motion of debris-hungry Caterpillar tractors. Really! Donald Trump at the End of the Line, where civilization stops and brings its debris. Denying science, demeaning women to be less than men, demeaning one group of people to be more dangerous than another. Saying To Hell with Recycling and Global Warming too, where everything is based on the bottom-line dollar, low tech jobs at best, here where 300 or 8,000 old refrigerators like cadavers come to die. Only impeachment can extract him from the Land Fill Station and possibly prison for Treason. Watch the Landfill News, some are even barred by Trump from the White House for holding opinions different than his.
Peter Bray writes, lives, and works in Benicia
and has written this column since 2008.