Down in the Dumps

Well, you cannot trust anything anymore. The greatest fun in Geneva of a Sunday was always a trip to the cantonal dump. It’s a glorious place; full of action, excitement and true human drama.

After your bucolic drive through the Geneva countryside filled with colza blooms, dripping wisteria, and fields attesting to great human activity and endeavour, you must then pass through two important signposted gates (reminiscent of a penitentiary) and then negotiate your way up the ramp.

Much like an inverted Roman arena, this circular spot on top of the crown of a little artificial hill is the centre of the action. Various huge containers are spoked out below invitingly signposted as to desiring glass, wood, iron, building rubble, electrical things–and you actually get to pitch your worn-out objects down into the bins with glee, noise and panache.

garbage things

This exercise is entirely satisfactory. Much like throwing Christians to the lions, one would think.

Old beds, old computers, old lawn furniture, are all grist to the mill. The only forbidden item is entire cars. You must not simply drive your old banger into the appropriate bin. This is a bit of a pity, but to make up somewhat, tires, batteries, metal, oil, and bulky objects are all allowed. So, you just have to take your car apart.

There is even an audience. Not only are other citizens taking an active interest in your rubbish, and your hauling/dragging/swearing abilities, but the décharge employees also have their eye on you, as your antics backing up the ramp with your trailer full of oddities has captured their full attention.

However, today there has been a hideous surprise. This morning’s car full of interesting things—a compressor that has compressed its inner organs into jelly, garden chairs that have slowly turned into rust buckets, and an exercise bike that has been pedalled into oblivion—have all had a nice drive to the dump, but have also come back home.

A new sign has been placed on the second gate at the dump (the first entry gate was wide open) announcing new hours – afternoons only!

Rechecking the official web-site, the information is profuse and varied and like Alice in Wonderland invites the belief of at least six impossible things before breakfast: open mornings and afternoons; closed on the weekends and open on Saturdays and Sundays; open on afternoons and Saturdays; open all the time and only ever truly really completely shut on Christmas and New Year’s days.

This is a truly shocking and confusing development. So, in a saddened state of mind, we will try to capture an afternoon dump moment one day soon. The car must remain locked with the old treasures all safely inside.

These are the chosen ones and, like a smile-without-a-cat, their destiny is assured.






Joy Kundig

Joy Kündig-Manning est née en Angleterre et a vécu au Canada. Spécialisée dans la littérature anglaise du XVIIIe siècle, elle a travaillé comme traductrice, enseignante, et écrivaine. Mariée à un Suisse, elle est venue à Genève en 1977. Elle est très contente de tenir le premier blog du Temps en anglais!