Today, Jabba the Sutt and I decided it was time to take the recycling before it overtook the garage and scored us a spot on that new show "Hoarders." In Suffolk, I am told that the City used to pick up the recycling like they do the trash, but stopped a few years ago in order to save ten zillion dollars in the budget. (And we all know that Cities make really intelligent decisions with their funding, so I'm certain that whomever ended the recycling pickup has now allotted those funds for something else VASTLY deserving and important, because that's how they roll.) Now in order to recycle, we must amass our own collections of tin, plastic, and glass (they do not take cardboard, for reasons I have yet to determine) and haul them off to one of the many beautiful and appealing rusty bins that are stationed throughout the city. Which means that most people just chuck everything in the garbage, thus giving the figurative finger to our Mother Earth. But not we McPhails. We recycle.
(The sheer number of our wine and beer bottles alone would fill a landfill, so it seems like the right thing to do.)
After about seven hours of loading every box, bag, and crate of recyclable material into the Xterra (minus the cardboard, of course) we set out to find a bin. In our area, we have two locations with recycling bins that are within a reasonable distance from our house and easily accessible. One is at Sleepy Hole Park, a safe, sweet little park nestled in a lovely forest complete with picnic shelters and a Children's Garden and rangers who maintain it and keep it pretty. It's where you have birthday parties and family reunions. The other is at Pughsville Park, a sketchy little spot right smack in the middle of the 'hood where one can always score some crack or solicit a hooker, depending on one's mood (both, if you're feeling particularly frisky). It's where you dodge bullets and pimp out your baby sister. Sleepy Hole Park is less risky. Pughsville is on the way to the Y, and gives me that extra little shot of adrenalin I need just before I get on the elliptical machine. Which means Pughsville is the bin of choice.
We rolled up to the park around ten a.m. Things seemed pretty standard--dealer sitting on the monkey bars, crackhead curled up beneath the slide, random Hispanic man riding a shiny purple Bratz bicycle cruising the perimeter. Looks safe to me! I jumped out, pocketed my keys (they make an excellent weapon if necessary) and opened the back of the car to remove the first box. Hoisting it up onto my hip, I was distracted by keeping the cans and bottles from falling out and scattering all over the blacktop, so I was right up on the recycling bin before I whacked my foot against the the large wooden item in front of it. That large, wooden item being a coffin, of course.
Yes. You heard me. A coffin.
In my defense, the casket was hidden down near the end of the bin, so it's not like I missed a coffin just laid out in the middle of Pughsville (which, frankly, is probably not that unusual a sight). It was rectangular, medium colored wood, and lined with pink satiny fabric. It had handles on the sides and the top was thankfully askew, easing my mind about the contents (none) because you KNOW I would have peeked inside if the lid had been on tightly.
This is the point where I have to start wondering. Three-quarters of Suffolk don't even both to recycle their soda cans, but someone went so far as to recycle a casket? Is that what they were even doing? I mean, why would you leave a casket at a recycling bin? Hell, they don't even take cardboard, for goodness sakes, so did someone really think they would take a coffin? Or, did the owner perhaps think someone else who dropped off their recycling might think, "Oh, hey, I've been needing a good coffin," and take it home, like when my ex-father-in-law used to pick up people's nasty old furniture when they left it out on the curb for trash day and dumpster dive when the upholstery retailer threw out the old samples so that he could make his own throw-pillows? Was there once a body in it? Did someone already take THAT home? (It IS Pughsville, after all.)
Oh, the possibilities. And to think I could have gone to Sleepy Hole instead, thus living my whole life without ever knowing that I had missed a recycled coffin in Pughsville. What a shame that would have been.