This column contains an ‘A’ type person

On illegal dumping in the East Kootenay backcountry

I was driving down a backcountry road, into the mountains, with my old pails of mercury in the back of my pickup. They were taking up too much space in the shed, so we were getting rid of them. Suddenly my wife spoke up.

“You know, they are having that toxic waste round-up at the transfer station today,” she said. “We could have just taken this stuff there.”

“Look,” I shouted. “We’ve already talked about this. You expect us to drive all the way to the transfer station, pay all that money?”

“But the toxic waste round-up is free,” my wife said. “And right in town. Instead, we’re driving all these miles out to where we dumped our old airstream trailer. Remember how hard it was to get it off the road into the woods?”

“We’ve been over this,” I shouted. “The RDEK wants us to take our trash to their site, to separate our recycling according to how they want it. No glass with paper! What’s with that!

“That’s just Communism!” I shouted.

“All right, all right, calm down,” my wife said.

We got to the spot where we’d dumped our airstream the year before. I was going to put the jugs of mercury into the trailer, but I was getting tired, so I just dumped them beside the road. “The heck with it,” I said.

“It almost seems a shame,” my wife said. “This is such a pretty place.”

“Listen,” I shouted. “I’ve told you this a thousand times! This is our backcountry! We developed this backcountry, we defended this backcountry! You think the government’s going to tell what we can’t do with this backcountry? This is our backcountry!” I shouted again.

“All right, all right, calm down,” my wife said.

Two days later, we drove up into the Cranbrook Community Forest with a big load of garbage — seven bags, which I’d been hanging onto a little too long, because the City only picks up three bags at a time. This still made me really angry.

“How dare they!” I shouted. “I pay my taxes in Cranbrook! I pay my taxes in the RDEK! Now they tell me they’re not going to pick up all the garbage!” I’d already written letters to various elected officials, but these were ignored. This, of course, made me crazy.

“How dare they!” I shouted.

“I think,” my wife said, “that it’s illegal to dump garbage in the Community Forest. Besides, it’s such a pretty place. And the transfer station is just right there.”

“You think I’m waiting in line? You think I’m going to wait there in line, with all this stinking garbage?” I shouted. “Like some socialistic serf?”

“All right, all right, calm down,” my wife said.

I pulled over and threw the rotting bags of garbage into the trees of the Community Forest. I still had all my old fluorescent light bulbs in the back of the truck, that I hadn’t known what to do with, so I threw them out too. They made a satisfying smashing sound.

The next weekend, I made my wife help me load our barrel of PCBs, that we’d been saving in case of an emergency. It was taking up too much space in the shed.

“We don’t have much gas,” I said. “We’ll just go a little ways out of town. Maybe Elizabeth Lake.”

“You know there are companies, here in town, that will take this extremely toxic waste off our hands, so that it doesn’t pollute,” she said.

“How many times do I gotta tell you!” I shouted. “So you think it’s okay to take my toxic waste and not pay me a dime? And then they’re gonna turn around and make money off my toxic waste? You think that’s fair! No way!”

“All right, all right, calm down,” my wife said.

I pulled over to the roadside so I could shake my finger at her. “That’s what’s wrong with society today!” I shouted.

A few days later, I loaded up all that old ordinance I’d been saving — my unexploded second world war bomb, my box of hand grenades, and the small sidewinder missile I’d bought on EBay. I’d been waiting for it to appreciate in value, but it was taking up too much space in the basement.

We loaded it into the truck and drove off — Community Forest again, up behind the golf course. I brought tools in case I had to jimmy a barrier or cut through a fence.

“It seems a shame,” my wife said, “that with the Canadian military begging even the war museum for spare parts …”

“We’ve been over this already!” I shouted …

Editor’s Note: The above is a work of fiction. The narrator in no way approves of illegal dumping, and in fact is appalled that someone such as the above would do such a foul thing.