Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A Trip to the Wellfleet Transfer Station

In quiet season, visiting the Wellfleet Transfer Station is one of the highlights of our week. This afternoon we filled our Volvo with garbage bags and recyclables - not to forget a few items for Swap Shop exchange - and, with Wagner on the radio, headed down Route 6 towards Cole's Neck Road. I hummed a little tune in happy anticipation. A trip to the Wellfleet Transfer Station is like going to a candy factory.

An attendant greeted us at the top of the hill. He is quite friendly but we will miss red-headed Ginny, who retired last year. The row of teapot-planters she salvaged, shimmering in the sun, always made me smile. A profusion of pink and white geraniums would poke blossoms skyward as if to proclaim this "dump" a civilized place.

We stacked newspapers to the left, deposited bottles and glass on tables to the right. Number 1 and 2 plastic went into a separate bin. I noticed how neat the recycle area was.

After throwing the garbage bags into a truck for transport to SEMASS, we turned our attention to the Swap Shop. I deposited my old sewing machine on the floor and glanced around. Sven was already leafing through a book, having recycled an item we had "borrowed" earlier: a rubber boat. On the floor, I found a box of china, the same hard-to-find pattern that my mother enjoyed for years. Will she ever be delighted!

A man was just leaving, a wistful look on his face. "Nothing today," he confided. "Once I opened a little suitcase. There was this trumpet inside, in perfect condition. People junk the darndest things."

It is indeed fascinating to see what people throw away. We have put to good use recycled furniture, mirrors, and innumerable kitchen items. Our dump treasure remains the Swan painting Sven found. We had it cleaned after discovering its value - $500.

Denny O’Connell drove up in his red truck with boxes of books for the Friends’ of the Wellfleet Libraries' shed. Sven and I helped him unload. You always meet the nicest people at the dump!

On the way home, we paused at the metal pile. Lawn chairs, barbecue grills, mattress coils were fused into an enormous ball. I gazed at these objects, which were once so indispensable to someone's lifestyle. Spikes stuck out at angles, a sinister symbol of how wasteful our consumer society has become. A man had just discarded a Peugeot bicycle with rusty pedals. My husband appropriated it on the spot. "Candy" in hand, we headed for the exit until our trash containers again overflow.