32 gallons can take it right out of you

It is garbage day here on the inner coastal plain. As I’ve mentioned, the garbage people don’t pick up our garbage. They don’t service the area, despite almost all of our customers using the service. Despite them picking up the discards from the previous owners. Despite my having timed this such as to see the garbage truck rumble down the street as I was gathering things together. It’s a weird thing, this small inconvenience. It makes you feel a little vulnerable, somehow.

And it’s a small inconvenience, to be sure. The problem is solved by simply catapulting our refuse into a neighbor’s yard putting a small garbage can or two into the car, sliding a tub of recyclables in there somewhere, and driving them the 7.3 miles to the drop off place.

So I did that. One over-filled, smelly garbage can into the trunk. Plastics, steel, glass and aluminum into the back seat. Turn left, drive awhile, turn right, go around a curve, turn right and then left again, and you’re there. If you do this in the middle of the day, as I did, you might be the only one there, as I almost was.

A woman pulled in just after me and, even though this place should probably suit four or five people setting about the busy work of getting rid of things, I managed to get in her way. She smiled, I smiled. I got out of her way, and then drove away, back through town, and I took this photo.

Two-and-a-half weeks ago, I published a photo of the front door of a local historic bank as part of the We Learn Wednesdays feature. Here’s a better look.

Back at the house, the plastic recycling tub returned to its spot, the garbage can dealt with, I returned to the computer to do computer-type things. I plugged away at this site and that, dealing with tech support from two separate parts of the country on two separate issues. All but the last little bit of what the university requires for their administrative work has now been completed, and the last thing, something of a redundancy if I recall correctly, is now out of my hands. All of which means there will soon be real work to do.

But at quitting time, I quit, and went for a swim. Today I counted out 1,760 yards, which is a fair amount for me. My longest swim since October 29, 2015. I only wrote one throwaway sentence about it here that day; maybe it felt common to do long swims at the time. Most anything can feel ordinary after a time. And then ordinary can, of course, change with the simple demands of the day.

My swims aren’t very pretty, or fast, or efficient. I’ve been in the pull next to incredible swimmers — varsity swimmers, All Americans, Olympians — and it’s simply a gorgeous demonstration of the human form. What you see on TV does not do justice to what you see when you’re in the next lane. And you’ll forget to “swim” altogether as you watch the poet slicing through the water next to you. Or, at least, I do. I don’t swim like that. The only thing we’d have in common is being in the water. But over your lap time, you get to think about things, and today I considered what legendary coach David Marsh — he was himself five times an All-American, coached 12 teams to national championships and has coached more than four dozen Olympians — once told me. “You have to respect someone willing to spend hours and hours, swimming hundreds of laps, to shave a thousandth of a second off of their best time.”

Every now and then, during my swim, a part of one lap felt better than the last. Maybe I was almost finding the right technique, just in time to reach the wall and throw the whole thing off. I’m not good at it, is what I’m saying, and also inconsistent. But it was a long swim, and it felt mostly comfortable. The metric I’m using: I only stopped twice.

After that, my lovely bride and I talked about sports and classes. For the second time in a week or so someone has mentioned to her a study idea I suggested a few weeks back. We might be on to something there. These are the conversations that are the most fun. Sometimes they go somewhere.

By dinner time, which was soon after that conversation, I could already feel that swim in my shoulders. I wonder, what would Marsh say about that?

“Blame it on the garbage cans,” probably.

Comments are closed.