Our little town is in the midst of celebrating an annual holiday that Jerry and I didn't even know existed. But after a few days of observation from our living room windows, it became completely clear what it should be called: Redneck Christmas.
In reality, it's called trash day. But this isn't just any ordinary trash day. It is the one Monday this year that our town's garbage hauler has agreed to pick up absolutely anything you can push, pull or drag to the curb in front of your house.
The random items started piling up outside of people's homes as early as Saturday. Then the piles got bigger. And bigger. And pretty soon entire sidewalks disappeared. Frankly, I'm glad I don't have to park on the street because it's very likely that my car would've been covered with the contents of our neighbors' apparently overly cluttered basements.
Our block alone is a catch-all of household disorganization. As I watched more and more junk being brought to light from the depths of people's closets and crawl spaces, I couldn't help but wonder what the editors of my favorite magazine would think. Every month "Real Simple" does a special section on banning clutter, and none of the houses selected for its glossy pages could even hold a candle to the crap lining our street. I think the organization experts would just pass out from the sheer volume of it all.
Right at this very moment, the haulers are breaking their backs lifting couches with bad springs, broken air hockey tables, chairs with stained upholstery and various other bulky objects into the belly of the trash compactor. I'm not an expert at logistics by any means, but it seems that even one block's worth of crap would fill the truck to capacity.
Fortunately, the collectors had help. Last night, a parade of slow-moving vehicles drove up and down our street. When they got to what they apparently considered to be a promising pile of trash, the passenger door would open, someone would hop out armed with a flashlight and scour the mound. More times than not, the passenger would signal to the driver for help and something would get tossed inside the vehicle -- along with trash treasures from other streets.
The bed of one particular pickup truck was piled so high it would surprise me to find out that they made it home with everything they pilfered.
Jerry was so amused by the entire scene.
"Are you hungry? I have a leftover banana peel," he said, making fun of the looters as he watched from inside the house. "Or maybe you could lick out the remnants of my yogurt container."
All I know is that I think we felt a little left out. As first-time homeowners, we haven't had decades to amass a ton of clutter. And although I'm always up for scouring "trash-to-treasure" finds at a flea market or second-hand store, I'm not sure I feel comfortable driving around digging through the things people couldn't wait to get rid of, knowing that they're sitting by an upstairs window, making fun of the people who ransack their castaways.
Maybe next year we'll have something to contribute to Redneck Christmas. I'm pretty sure there's a stained throw rug up in the attic.