The Lifecycle of Lobbies

I took some old junk to the dump this weekend. Even though the place smells terrible and I want to burn my clothes in a furnace afterwards, I actually quite enjoy going to the dump. I love throwing things away, but unfortunately some things are too big for the garbage can. And those things must be thrown into the greatest garbage can of all: a giant open-air pile of trash in a huge lot at the minimal legal distance from the nearest domestic area.

It’s the best. You reverse your car up against a precarious slope of sifting layers of trash, pop open the back, and then you just… throw your garbage on top, like you’re playing a reckless and very stinky game of Jenga. If you’re not careful, you’ll cause a trashslide and get buried in broken IKEA furniture pieces, with nary an Allen key to save you.

But you’re at the dump, not at the place-objects-down-carefully! You’re there to throw large pieces of garbage with all your strength through the air! Revel in the sound of breaking glass, of snapping balsawood! The sight of loads unladen! The smell of —

Anyway, there’s also natural life at the dump! They’ve got birds, and bulldozers, and fungi, and whatever’s growing in the trash stacks, and COVIDs 20 through 33 — a real thriving ecosystem.

It’s a beautiful experience.

Now, later that same day, I also went to Hobby Lobby. And reader, I must admit: I think I may be a time traveler.

It was like I’d had a vision from the Ghost of Garbage Past. I don’t know for sure that the objects I saw at Hobby Lobby that afternoon were past versions of objects I’d seen at the dump that morning. All I’m saying is that it’d be tough to prove the difference.

Even though it was the middle of a work day, the place was stuffed to the gills with ladies. And let me tell you, there is no one on this Earth happier than a middle-aged woman in Hobby Lobby in the fall.

The place is woefully disorganized. There are no aisle signs. Shelves carry random assortments of clocks, fabric, stuffed turkeys, and candle holders. No one can find what they are looking for, and everyone is lost. But they are all smiling.

Hobby Lobby is their happy place–like me at the dump. Except that instead of throwing garbage away, they are purchasing and creating the garbage.

I wasn’t distracted by the sundry offerings or the eclectic charm. I booked it through that store, looking for a little plastic organizer for the tokens of my Star Wars tabletop war miniatures game, like a normal adult. I found no signs or direction. The shelves merely heard my need, and eventually offered up their offering.

On that day, Hobby Lobby became for me a kind of quantum lobby. I was stalled in time; not fully inside the timeline, but not outside of it, either. I shook hands with Alpha and Omega. All things end at the dump, and all things come from Hobby Lobby. For me the beautiful thing was finding, in one day, the smiles at both ends.

(And playing trash Jenga.)

This article first appeared in the Duzett Gazette, the really official newsletter of Carl Duzett. Sign up here to get more content like this in your inbox, as well as some other content that isn’t quite like it, but is probably also good.

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