hundreds of pounds of carpet
Monday, November 30 2015
Gretchen came down the stairs this morning with an announcement I'd been dreading for weeks: that today she would be going on a run to the dump. She acted as though this was something it would be possible for her to do alone, but I knew that the scale of the job would be unusually large. There were hundreds of pounds of rolled-up carpet fragments in the garage (removed from the basement this summer) that needed to be disposed of, and that meant any dump run would be a big two-car job. But I knew this day was coming, so, what the hell, I dove right in and started filling the cars with trash. In this case, though, nearly all the work I did before the run involved getting those heavy carpet rolls up on the Subaru's roof rack (Gretchen helped) and then tying them down. The heaviest one really fought me on the way up and slid half-way down a few times before getting to where it needed to be. I soon noticed that the course bottom-weave (the part of the carpet that faces the floor) had left thousands of shallow scratches on the Subaru's paint. If that car hadn't already made its descent into deep beaterhood, this wouldn't have been just mildly upsetting.
I drove slowly to the dump so the tall stack of carpet rolls wouldn't shift around too much. So when Gretchen's Prius didn't quickly appear behind me, I started worrying. Had her view been blocked by bags of recycling, forcing her to make a faith-based backwards-entrance onto Dug Hill Road, running into someone? I could feel myself actually getting mad at her for the imagined accident I'd spun out of nothing when her car appeared in my rearview mirror, collapsing the cloud of Schrödinger's cat scenarios back to one actual state. The Prius didn't even have any additional dents.
As I unloaded the carpet and helped Gretchen with the recycling, I overheard the guy who's always there talking to somebody about ISIS, though he was doing it from the perspective of someone with knowledge of junk. He said that when they left Iraq, American troops buried a bunch of perfectly good equipment in the desert, sometimes superficially "ruining" it, though it seems ISIS was able to dig much of this stuff up and get it working again.
Today's dump run cost us something like $38, which was the most we've ever spent there. This was because, while we rarely bring more than 50 pounds of trash, today's load was near 400 pounds.
Today was day two of a return to caffeine abstinence, and again I suffered from mild dysphoria for much of the day. I've continued to watch The Man in the High Castle, mostly because at this point I have the sunk costs of having watched the earlier episodes. I've started enjoying it, but not for the reasons one should enjoy golden-age television. Part of it has to do with how its oddly-primitive gritty post-war technology resonates with the stuff in my head that was placed there by reading Command and Control, the book about accidents with nuclear weapons. It's almost worth the price of admission to see that in the early 1960s, our Nazis overlords are flying around their empire on rocket planes that look like 1970s-vintage Concordes. But as I see these visions of an dreadful past that never came to be, I think two things. The first of these is that there is no way the Nazis would have produced a society with the open and sharing characteristics necessary to create the Internet, and thus anything remotely like our modern interconnected world. The other of these is that we cannot take for granted that such a grim dystopian culture can't take root here. There are plenty of would-be Nazis in America, many of them serving in high positions. And if you listen to the increasingly-deranged ravings of the current Republican presidential primary field, it's clear that it wouldn't take much of a societal shift to have these same people openly calling for extermination camps. Indeed, Ted Cruz and two other Republican presidential candidates recently gave a speech from a stage where a pastor all but called for the extermination of homosexuals. (Ultimately, though, this pastor conceded that the time "isn't right.")
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