My dad was a farmer, and he often had to make trips to the tip. For some reason the tip is fascinating. Is it the stench of rot and decay? The clumps of clay? The mysterious pools of water that look quite refreshing until you see dead rat float by? Finding a tennis ball at the tip was like striking gold, never mind that it was bald and sloshed a bit. One man’s trash!
That tip smell was so unique. If you were a tip person, you’d know that sour, milky smell anywhere. Well, you’ll be pleased to know that the tip smell hasn’t changed a bit. And how do I know that?
BECAUSE I WENT THERE YESTERDAY!
Yeah, you better be jealous!
Even now I feel a little bit smug. I can’t wait to tell my sister.
But do you know what?
It turns out that a trip to the tip is really different when you’re a grown up. Another simple pleasure, ruined. Who’d have thought that adding anxiety, ultra-sensitivities to smell and sound and a general fear of germs would make a trip to the tip such a problem? People talk about their failing continence or dodgey hip as being problematic as they get older – for me it’s going to be the constant paranoia that I smell like dead, combined with a love of poking things with sticks. As for my beloved? I already have her pegged as the old lady in a nursing home trying to touch every bottom that passes.
Anyway anyway, we were still several hundred metres away when the first wave of tip smell triggered that olfactory memory, filling the car and my sinuses with the plumes of sour death. But most concerning was the taste. Why the actual fuck did I think I could taste it? What happened to me at the tip in a past life? Why am I thinking about pigs, pigs with bellies bloated by the gases that herald the end of life, waiting for one last opportunity to offer a tremendous fart to the gods of life and death? Oh my god, my failing mental health has suddenly put a trip to the tip into context.
My rabid creativity continued to concoct a tale of woe as we drove ever closer to the tip. By the time we were driving through the entry, it was only the pure stench that was keeping me from catatonia.
But as we pulled up, the tip was suddenly less of this:
And 100% this:
It was clean. It was organised. There were no mountains of ferment threatening to topple over and squash me. It was fine.
I was looking forward to needing an afternoon nap.
So, as world-weary grown ups, we emptied the trailer, paid the bill and drove home.
No tennis balls. No tip treasures.
Just weary adulthood, and a wasteful society.
Were you a tip person? Love it or loath it?