Everyone’s had that horrible moment once in their life when they just had to go to the bathroom, yet couldn’t. Maybe you were stuck on a wide-open stretch of highway, or enduring the spasms of your bladder on an airplane when stuck in a delayed landing pattern. At first, you try to ignore it, but pretty soon, you can feel it practically bubbling up in your stomach, swimming around your molars. You’re certain if you don’t vacate immediately, geysers will start spraying out of your ears like a cartoon character.
When once we lived next to the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan Bridge, we were delighted to find that each rain storm taught us a little bit about how recycling works in New York City. We would stand on the edge of the roof, looking down to the torrent of water rushed from what we imagined was the eastern end of Long Island into the East River, each gallon of water carrying the cast off packaging of a million purchases. Each plastic bag and juice box washed into the river and was sucked directly to the bottom, where the crushing weight of the water compressed the trash back into its original state. Commercial divers sank to the depths to recover the reconstituted trees and tie off bladders of crude oil and fruit to their belts.