Thursday, October 31, 2013

Taxi of the Deceased

In honor of Halloween, I'm finally going to divulge the story about my husband driving around with dead people in his truck.  I've mentioned it a few times and I keep saying that I'm going to tell you, but I  also keep forgetting.

Now is the moment.

Mind you, when I tell this story, most people have the same reaction at first.  So if you find yourself staring at the screen with the look of utter confusion/shock/whatthefuckness on your face as you read on, it's the common response.   

This blog entry's disclaimer is that I swear that my husband is NOT insane.  However, I DO believe that he should be supervised or checked up on at regular intervals because he's very creative, and intelligent and his thought processes get him into weird predicaments.  Those of us who know him are not concerned that he spends a good portion of his day shaping the mind of a small human, so that should confirm that he's A-OK.  He's a good kind of "wackadoodle".  (And he makes me feel normal.)

A few days before Hurricane Sandy in 2012, I came home from work and Justin looked particularly excited about something.  Usually, he's very chill and laid back.  Instead he looked like a big ole happy yellow lab, bounding over, in my face, excited to greet me at the door.... minus the crotch sniffing, of course.

"You are never going to believe what happened to me today at the storage bin!"

Well, if that doesn't make you tingle with anticipation, I don't know what will.  

Not.

I put my work stuff down and was preparing myself for one of those long winded stories that is usually about nothing too thrilling, because the poor guy doesn't get much excitement in his day.  'Deep breath.  Focus, Vicki.  Focus.  Liven up and look interested now!"

"I can't possibly imagine what you found at Bob's that could elicit this much enthusiasm."  We have a truck stored there.  The truck stores lots of crap that isn't worthy of being part of the practice room for hoarding, a/k/a our garage.

"I found dead people!"

Ok.  I admit my interest was piqued.  He got me on this one.  Interesting shit DOES happen at Bob's!

"Excuse me?"  

"Dead people.  In boxes.  I found them in the dumpster!"  It was as if he found a brontosaurus skeleton or something.  He was seriously pumped!  

"In the dumpster???  What in the hell are you talking about???"

"I went to Bob's to get something from the truck and thought I would throw out some stuff.  I took it to their dumpster and when I looked in, I saw these three cardboard boxes.  The were still sealed, so I was kind of curious what was in there."

I'm staring at him and all I can think of is, 'Oh my God, he's so bored that he's dumpster diving now.  This is very sad.'

"Justin, you took people's garbage out of the dumpster?"

"Vic, I HAD to know.  You know how I am."  

Yes, I do.  If he was a cat, he'd probably be dead by now from his crazy curiosity.

"I opened the boxes and there were dead people in there!  Someone threw out cremated remains.  They had never even opened up the boxes.  And there was information in there too.  Names and dates and photos."

"There were photos in the boxes?"  No one put photos in my father's box when we got his ashes back.  I felt a bit slighted.

"No.  The photos were in the dumpster under the boxes." 

"You went back in the dumpster to get the photos???  Are you kidding?"  The visual of him digging around in a dumpster was so odd.  He's a germaphobe!

"It all was right on top.  It's not like I was purposely looking through the dumpster for shit.  I didn't even have to get in."  

"Thank God.  That's disgusting.  Plus you aren't supposed to do stuff like that."  Handicapped man + dumpster diving = big no-no.  The doctor hadn't included that on the list of stuff he wasn't supposed to do.  It was pretty much a given.

So, I listened the whole story and he went out and got the boxes and the photos.  I admit that I was a little intrigued.  And saddened.  Three people lived on this earth, died, were mourned by their family/friends who had them cremated, and then some uncaring asshole tossed them in the garbage, along with personal photos of precious moments of those lives.  

Every pet that has passed since 2000 has been cremated and they all are in boxes on a shelf in my bedroom.  My father, as some of you may remember from last week, is in my daughter's room, busy waking her up in the middle of the night.  I keep the remains of those that I love close to me.  I can't even imagine spreading the ashes in a lovely place outside, let alone toss them in the dumpster.  Clearly, the person who threw these boxes out didn't really care about them.  They put them in a community dumpster with unwanted things.

"What are you going to do with these people," I asked.  

"I don't know.  I have to find out what you do with them."  I suggested that he call a funeral home and ask them what you could do.  You aren't allowed to bury pets in your yard, so there MUST be some sort of limitations about what you can do with human remains, right?

Days went by.  I forgot about the dead people.  

Then Hurricane Sandy hit and our area became a disaster.  We lost electricity for a few days and everything that was outside was tossed around.  Apparently Sandy was big on renovations and landscaping. 

She also enjoyed dumping everyone's garbage and recycling onto the lawns.  There were photos everywhere.  I came outside the next day to find my neighbors collecting photographs that were strewn all over the complex and joined in to help.

"Who are these people?  I don't recognize anyone.  Do you guys know who they are?"  I didn't see one familiar face.  I'm big on photographs so I was hoping that I could collect them and we could give them back to the person who probably thought that they had lost them forever.

When I got back inside, I told Justin about the photos and he looked a bit guilty.  "Those are the dead people."

"Oh my God!  Justin, are you kidding me??  You still have the dead people??!" I couldn't believe that he still hadn't done anything with them yet.  

"Yeah," he answered sheepishly.  "I kept forgetting to do something with them.  I'm still not sure who to ask and I've been really busy the past few days.  So, I've been driving them around."

I blinked and reiterated, "You're driving them around."  He was that desperate for company that he was hanging out with dead people?

"Yep."  I could hear his brain cranking, trying to think of something good to use as an excuse.  "Just think, if I didn't bring them home and drive them around all week, they probably would've been spread all over Bob's parking lot in the storm.  That's no way to be dead."

More blinking.  I do a lot of blinking at him when he says this kind of stuff.  I think that he's partially serious and partially going for some shock value.  It's all about doing really nutty crap in the most normal fashion possible.

"Get rid of them, Justin.  You're completely freaking me out.  Before you know it, you'll be Googling them, trying to find out more information about who they are.  Your new dead friends."

"I already did that.  I couldn't find anything."

Flash forward a week or so.  

I come home from work and there's the bouncy, happy lab running at me again.  "Guess what I did!"

"Brought home more dead people?"  That was sarcasm, kinda.  If he said yes, I would not have been surprised.

"No.  I got rid of them.  I ran into a cop at the gas station and asked him what I should do with them."  

Again, I"m intrigued.  And shocked.  "You asked a cop?!  And he didn't arrest you or have you carted away?  How did you approach this subject?"

"I just walked up and told him about my situation and how I found them in the dumpster and asked what I should do with them," he said very matter-of-a-factly.

"And?  What did he say?"

"He asked me to repeat myself and then he told me to hold on while he called someone to find out."

Personally, at this point, I would seriously consider driving away for fear that the police officer was going to contact the local psych hospital and they were going to send someone to get me.

"No one really seemed to know, so he suggested I scatter the ashes somewhere out of the way.  I went to the park and scattered them by the woods.  They're at peace now."  He seemed a bit peaceful himself.  I could tell that he felt better now that the people were somewhere proper.  

A few weeks ago I was searching for a box in the garage when I noticed a pile papers on the floor in the corner under a cart.  I stretched under and grabbed the pile and slid it out carefully.  In the midst of some old college papers were some photos.  The photos I had picked up on the lawn about a year ago.  The dead people.  I thought I had thrown them all out after I found out who they were.

I thought about the dumpster and how kind it was for Justin to respect the ashes.  He respected them more than the person who threw them out and was probably connected to them somehow.   As much as I made fun of him for driving dead people around, I think it's sweet.  It was a caring gesture.  

I'm sure I will tell Allison about this one day and she will have her own opinion about how cuckoo/normal she thinks it is.  But it has a good moral to the story.  Respect the dead.  Even when you don't know them.  Because every life is important.  Every life has purpose.  Respect the purpose.

Plus if you make fun of them, apparently they will screw with you.  In the middle of the pile of photos of the dead people was a photo of me and a dog and bird..... who are also now deceased.

I took my photo out and threw out the rest of the photos.  Then I walked back inside and put it back on the side of the refrigerator, where it's been hanging for the past seven years.  I can't remember when it stopped hanging there.  Wasn't it always there?

I have no idea how that photo was removed from the fridge and tucked in with photos of strangers on the floor in the corner of my garage.  I'm too freaked out to think about it.

Spooky.

Happy Halloween Everyone!  xoxo

Me and the Peanut after Pumpkin Picking
"I'M SO EXCITED!  I WANT TO TAKE ALL OF THESE HOME!!"
HEY........How did she get all the way up there?????
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