I haven’t kept up with writing over the last two weeks for a couple of reasons. The first is that my wife had an unplanned four-day stay at the hospital. It was a mild scare, a case of being safe rather than sorry, but it was also disruptive and a reminder that solo parenting is a tough assignment. (It’s worth noting here that my in-laws are amazing; they came in and watched Abby multiple times so that I could keep a steady stream of clean underwear and DVDs headed to the hospital.)
The second reason involves an 8’x4’x14’ bin sitting in my driveway. I think that my nesting instinct finally kicked in, because as soon as Erin got home from the hospital I placed an order online to a garbage removal service, one of those ones where they drop off a dumpster and leave you to purge for a week.
I figured that 15 cubic yards would be more than enough room, but with the house finally cleared of all the broken furniture, dead electronics, and moldering old boxes from the storage areas the bin is almost entirely filled. Toss in a few pieces from family and the neighbours and suddenly I’m wishing that I got the larger container.
It’s simultaneously satisfying and horrifying. With Erin very pregnant and ordered to rest, I had the unenviable job of moving every single bag, stick, and scrap myself, so seeing the end result, this massive pile of stuff, feels like a real accomplishment.
However, it is also an indictment. It is waste. It is material bought that no longer has a place in my home, and I wonder why there is so very, very much of it.
I know that I am part of a consumer culture. The Western World is brutal that way. Cheap IKEA furniture, electronics that are obsolete before they hit the shelves, packaging surrounding packaging surrounding packaging. It is short-sighted, selfish, and terrifying. And it is ubiquitous to the point that no one, myself included, even sees it anymore.
I won’t lie. I feel lighter for having emptied my house of so much junk. And I specifically chose a company that aims to divert much of the waste to charities, recycling, or repurposing. But that is small comfort when I am reminded of how much I contribute to the material waste of this world.