Talking Trash (A Purpose Story)
It’s not what you think.
I was taking out a bag of trash recently and putting it inside the large gray barrel between my house and the tall fence that separates us from the street. We live very close to the street — not so unusual in Newport (or anywhere, for that matter).
A friend once said that her definition of living close to the street is when you sneeze in your living room and someone on the sidewalk says, “Gesundheit.” We’re not quite that close ... but we are on one of those close-quarters, middle-of-town streets that’s crazybusy in summer and nearly deserted in winter — again, not unusual in Newport.
And this was back in October at some point, in-between seasons, so there were still a good number of passersby on the sidewalk, hidden from view on the other side of the fence.
Anyway, just as I hefted and hurled my bag of trash into the barrel, I heard music. Recognizable music. The theme from Star Wars, I think. Or Raiders of the Lost Ark. One of those triumphant theme songs that appeals to Harrison Ford or Princess Leia wannabes of all ages, i.e. to everyone.
My immediate thought — after briefly considering that I was going nuts (am I??) — was a cell phone, a ring tone. Someone on the other side of the fence was getting a call.
But the music was closer than that. It was coming from the trash (!!), as if my trash were feeling triumphant in some way. So I leaned my head down — it wasn’t too pungent, fortunately — and listened. To my trash.
And I was stymied, if only for a second or two, before remembering that I had tossed some birthday cards, left over from my dad’s birthday, into the garbage. Pop hadn’t taken his cards with him after the party. Now that stinks. Especially since those musical cards are investments, at four or five dollars a pop — anything for Pop.
Well, that got me thinking.
First — not to knock the greeting card industry and those of us, myself included, who rely upon it for all manner of personal expression — but isn’t it sad that we don’t think up our own greetings?? That we don’t think for ourselves what to convey??
I mean, this was fine-quality, quasi-inspirational music coming from my trash; but I like to think a message of my own devising may have made it home after the party.
Second, at the risk of sounding preachy just for a second, isn't it amusing and worthwhile and occasionally instructive to look for meaning and adventure in our day-to-day lives, even in adventures so minor as taking out the trash??
That’s why I’m here, I guess, sort of — if you're still with me at the end of this very long bunch of meandering, self-indulgent garbage. I'm filling a virtual space with virtual images and virtual commentary of my own devising all about I’m-not-sure-what-exactly, but it has a lot to do with Newport. Observing Newport. (Loving Newport??) And maybe a few other things ...