Monday, April 26, 2010

Nostalgia in the Trash

Like most people, I'd guess, my outlook on the day seems to improve as the week goes on. I've had Mondays where I look on the morning as the last bastion of the weekend and try to enjoy eating breakfast and reading the paper as much as possible before another five days of work get underway. And then Tuesday seems a little better (especially when it's capped by either a gaming session with friends or, failing that, an episode of Lost). And Wednesday is OK, and Thursday is pretty decent, and who the hell doesn't love a Friday?

But Monday mornings can be a little dreary, and so that might have been why I was hit with a bit of sadness when I looked in my trash this morning and saw this:

Oh expired Burger King coupon book, I hardly knew ye.

Well, that's almost what I saw...the yogurt cup is from lunch and would be in my recycling bin if the transfer station bothered to take more plastics. And I don't really care about the wrapping from a roll of Hannaford-brand paper towels or the butter-encrusted bag of Jolly Time from the weekend's Netflix fest. So that leaves that SuperAmerica Speedy Rewards membership card right there on top.

It was both a lazy and productive weekend, and yesterday I opted to do some overdue cleaning. When I went through my desk drawers, I found a few things that could be tossed out. One was a little plastic SA Speedy Rewards oval, which is designed to fit on a key chain and be easily swiped under a scanner. The program designates point values to certain items in the SA convenience stores, and you can trade them in for rewards such as free drinks or gas discounts. SuperAmerica is a strictly Midwestern affair, and on my last trip to Minnesota I discovered that the points I had accumulated during my college years had expired. So, since my Minnesota trips are few and far between now, I tossed the oval and figured I might as well get rid of the SA card in my wallet while I was at it.

I didn't think anything of it at the time, but saw it in something of a different light this morning. Sure, it's just your standard rewards program card, but it has a bit of nostalgic value related to my time at Macalester College. I got it in my senior year, when I was living in a house on campus and buying gallons of milk on a regular basis. They were a bonus item at that point, worth 200 points apiece, and so I easily earned a couple of treats before milk went out of the rotation. The card also proved its worth on a couple of outings with friends, including a Blockbuster mission with the goal of getting one good movie and one terrible one; donuts were the bonus item then, and proved too good to pass up.

We're walking in the air...We're floating in the moonlit sky...

So basically I saw a bit of my college days lying in the garbage. And it triggered some nostalgia for them, now just about four years gone, and is there any better way to start a Monday morning than with an emotion my somehow surviving Webster's dictionary defines as "a yearning to return to the past"? I had plenty to keep me occupied during the day, but it made me want to write up the incident anyway.

The card is still lying there in the trash can. I have a touch of hoarding instinct; the housecleaning that claimed the SA relics spared a bunch of old National Geographic maps, even though I don't have much use for them. Usually I'll reassess something every time I see it, and eventually it might end up getting consigned to the junk heap or a thrift store. The card may have a couple of small memories attached to it, but it's nothing that isn't stored in my head anyway. And I can't get all emotional over rubbish, after all.

"That fast food bag reminded me of my first date..."

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