Since this week in Christchurch there has been horse racing* and a visit from royalty it might be timely to write about dumping.
Dumping is of course the sport of kings, or used to be. Back in the day, i knew people who were proud to have furnished their whole houses from the dump. It went with the hippy chic we adopted. We would engage in dumping at times. Dumps then were great sprawling stinking affairs that emitted clouds of dust and shrieking gulls. Back then you could wander in them like you were some sort of post industrial waste wraith, a piece of randomised ephemera made of flapping rags and swirls of dust, blowing and dissolving in the fetid wind....etc etc. You could come across half a teddy bear, or a perfect row of skinned ferrets, or a lacquered box with a map in it. You could enter for free and wander at will and take whatever treasures you found.
Recently we had an attack of entropy and i came home from work to discover half the lounge furniture broken beyond repair. Neither i nor my husband the Archduke Piccolo are keen on throwing things out. For most of our marriage our lounge suite was propped up on concrete blocks because the legs had broken. This furniture however was beyond propping up. So off we went to engage in the sport of kings.
Or so we thought.
Now the city refuse services have become further sterling examples of the Franz Kafka School of Management. Obviously they are run by the same outfit that manages the health system. We turned up in our Nissan Sentra hatchback feeling rather small among the trucks. We then began a Byzantine process of finding out what items could be dropped off at the post where they on-sell things, and what could be salvaged and what needed to be actually thrown out.This mostly involved driving around and around and shouting at each other. Finally we backed up in front of a big concrete pit and hurled our stuff into it. A machine came along and began to snuffle at it, a bit like the vacuum cleaner in the Teletubbies. We found our way out by a further Byzantine process that mostly involved driving around and around and shouting at each other, and discovered that they seem to have forgotten to charge us our $8. Perhaps it was because we were so pathetic.
It was all a bit anticlimactic. And clean. There was hardly any rubbish in sight, and no chance to pick over anything unless you offered to interact with the people in the trucks next to us, and that would have been plain weird. We were cogs in a wheel. Gizmos on a conveyor belt. Passive victims of Fordist 'efficiency' and the dehumanising fetishism of corporate greed.
Oh well, after that sobering thought, off to buy more furniture!**
*Actually the horse racing is incidental. Cup week in Christchurch is mostly women in big hats and very high heels getting drunk and falling over. Generally however people are only appalled if they're also fat. Slim women are mercifully free from tastelessness.#
# Oh, all right. Miaow.
**Actually, no, we have discovered that without the furniture we have more space for - the Archduke Piccolo's wargaming!