16 January, 2016
Years Past: The Trash Species
As we hit the mid-point of January, 2015 has already drifted away, almost out of view. Was it really a whole year? Did we live for 365 full days in that time, or was it maybe a hundred real days and a fever dream? And what of 2014? Not just over, but buried under the weight of another year already gone.
You can buy 2014 confetti still, which only raises the question: how much 2014 confetti was made and thrown away? Where is your 2011 New Year’s charm?
The question is not whether your 2009 New Year’s Martini Glass still exists. Everything still exists, somewhere, in pieces if not in whole. Our K-cups, our broken dishes, our batteries thrown in the trashcan not because we don’t know better, but because there’s nowhere immediately obvious for them to go when they run out of power.
If we have a mission, as a species, could it be the creation of trash? You can walk down the enormous aisles of a hypermart and imagine the toy lawnmowers with their wheels snapped off, stickers peeled, bleached in the sun of a derelict yard. A flash-forward to a display piece of furniture, whose pegs are already coming undone, soaked in the night’s rain by the curb. We’ve democratized trash-purchasing and made the trash-creation process as efficient as possible. If we naturally create mountain-sized heaps of undifferentiated garbage, and heat the planet, and fill the oceans with plastic, and no one can stop us, doesn’t that suggest it was our purpose, after all?