As it happens, the community dumpster is on the far end of the community from my unit, so taking out the trash takes more time than it did back when I had my own curbside pickup. Funny thing is that despite it taking much longer (sometimes an hour or two!), it’s become my favorite chore. I could try to explain my reasons, but I think instead I’ll just tell you the stories.
One day when life had been busy, it took several trips to carry all my trash and recycling to the dumpsters. I could have loaded it all into a cart, but I was enjoying the walk. It was a quiet day, a bit drizzly. My neighbors were not out, but they were somehow how still present. As I walked by each house I thought of the person inside: The one who invited us in for cookies after caroling last year. The home that used to house some of the best friends my kids had and their incredible parents. Now it is home to two of my favorite community philosophers. Another houses the kind neighbor who notarizes documents with a side of excellent conversation, sincere compassion and wise counsel. There are the plants my neighbor uses to attract butterflies, happy to show off her caterpillars in season, and the mint grown and shared in abundance. There are 67 homes in my community, so I could go on for a while, but you get the idea.
Another day I was helping a friend carry cardboard to the recycling. As we passed through “the circle” a young child squealed with glee. Eyes lit up, he asked, “Can I have your box?” It was quickly added to a collection of large boxes serving as playhouse and jungle gym on the sidewalk. By the time we were making our way back home, mom was handing out cabbage leaves to children piled in boxes. The children alternately wore them on their heads and chomped them for snacks, asking for more. Some things you really only ever see in cohousing.
Another day I found myself paused to chat with a neighbor my trash bag sitting at my feet as we solved the problems of the world. Before long a youngster rode by on his bike and then crashed several feet beyond us. I ran to help him up, aided by another neighbor who has seen the tumble through her window. We got him delivered to Grandma, I collected my trash bag and did eventually make it to the dumpster.
It is these everyday joys of cohousing I think I would miss the most if I lived somewhere else. For now, though, I better run. I think my recycle basket needs emptying.