Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Post-Diluvian Follies: Sloppin' II—The Grind

Fay called, she was in Metairie. Did I need anything?

“Could you get me a mop?”

She might have wondered how a paltry mop could help with such a huge mess (and I no longer remember the answer), but she was kind enough to oblige.

I was dragging some heap of muck to the curb as Fay and Mimi pulled up. When they saw me, their faces furrowed deeply with looks of maternal consternation. And in their faces I saw myself clearly—my absurd get-up and my absurd task—Sad Sack the Stinky Clown and His Heinous House of Horrors.

The trash kept piling up. Within a couple of days I had amassed a waist-high heap running half-way down the block. The next morning it was gone, whisked away by one of the many debris-hauling crews prowling the streets. In short order, I’d amassed a fresh, even larger heap. Another mound grew in the back yard.

(There were many more piles to come. Our house alone generated more trash than I ever could have imagined. And this was multiplied many tens-of-thousands-fold across the city. House after house looked like it had vomited its contents onto the street. The total amount of trash was stunning.)



As the trash grew, my nerves declined. Any sense of initial excitement had long since faded, replaced by loneliness, fatigue, stress, and depression. Despite all my slogging, there was still much much more, and I began to seriously doubt I would ever finish. I grew indecisive, broken, and crazed. The long days in my vile, poisonous house took their toll. At night I slept poorly. I dreamt I was walking down long dark halls, sucking slowly and thickly through a respirator, my boots clunking heavily in the silence.