Though two days later I’m still reeling from the landfill images that have been seared into my brain, the truth is that I was in quite a good mood leaving the landfill, even saying to J in a very happy voice, “Community at the landfill! I’m going to blog about this!”
“This” ended up being quite surprising. Here’s what happened:
As we came to be the first truck in line, the opening into which we had to back the pick up was the one closest to the big claw machine. It was also on the softest ground, which J could tell before we even got down there. He sighed and patiently backed us down, anyway, and then he crawled out and unloaded our rather unpleasant carpet and other odds and ends discovered in our shed. Then he got back in and tried to accelerate. Okay, he did accelerate but we didn’t go anywhere. He rocked us back and forth and still we stayed put. Not wanting to back down any further in an attempt to get leverage (we were, after all, on the end of a giant pit of garbage), we looked at each other. I started to pray out loud as I tend to do in these circumstances which feel extremely overwhelming, with the palms of my hands on my forehead for effect.
Meanwhile, a Kentuckian in an old, tiny, very dented truck had backed down beside us, in even looser soil/trash than we were in. He noticed that we seemed to be stuck, so he hollered out his open window to Jonathan that if you got stuck and didn’t have four-wheel drive, the guy in the big claw machine could pull you out if you asked. Not one to give in quickly, we sat there, J still trying valiantly to rock us out onto firmer garbage.
Ironically, the man in the little truck also couldn’t get out when he tried a few minutes later, so he yelled at the claw-truck driver, and the giant claw came driving over towards us. I know it seems as if I am drawing this story out, but what happened next you will not believe. The claw driver came over and actually maneuvered the claw into position BEHIND the little truck and pushed it out. Yes, the claw was up against the back of the pick-up, scraping and pushing until that little truck made its way out, getting precariously close to us while sliding out, if you ask me.
At this point, I am REALLY praying. We are in a borrowed truck, and it’s a very nice borrowed truck with no scratches and even very little dirt on it, and I’m thinking that the only way we’re going to get out is if this giant claw scrapes us and dents the back of our pristine pick-up.
Seemingly without any other options, J gestures to the man in the giant claw, who gets out and comes over to us to see if we have 4 wheel drive. (Apparently even he didn’t want to push us out, since our truck was so nice.) No 4wd. So he goes over to the next truck to see if anyone has a chain that the claw can use to pull us out, rather than push us out. I breathe a big sigh of relief and keep praying.
Keep in mind that there is still a long line of pick-ups trying to drop stuff off, and they’re waiting patiently to get our spot, but we have attracted much attention by this point.
No chains. Without a chain there will be no pulling us out. So the claw man stands beside us and gestures for us to back up and then gas it. Doesn’t work. Back up some more. Gas again. Doesn’t work, and smells like burning rubber. One more time, he tells us. Back up. Gas again. A little bit of grip, so we try one last time. J gasses it even more.
And slowly, slowly, we creak up out of the garbage pit.
And there was rejoicing.
Not just in the truck (you can imagine my rejoicing), but outside as well. All of the guys standing around, unloading the backs of their trucks, and in their trucks were cheering us on, fists pumping. They were rejoicing with us. Crazy, huh?
This is community, folks. Right there in the landfill. So that’s my good news. We can find it anywhere if we’re willing to look for it.
Note to self: Borrow truck with 4wd when going to a garbage dump.