…another man’s treasure

Realizing the international nature of the blog-o-sphere, I’m sheepish (‘Baaa!!!’) to admit that we U.S.-ians create a lot of trash…no, I’m not talking about our ideas or music or literature or whatever…but I can easily see how you thought so. I’m referring to actual garbage to be hauled away.

In my town, there is a limited amount and size that they (you know – – – “they”) will haul away each week. But, once a year, there is a bulk trash day where you can get rid of the bigger stuff. The street sides become lined with tables with 3-and-a-half legs, vacuum cleaners that have sucked their last, seatless chairs, and much more.

Over the years of this event, I have noticed a ritual also occurring on the days prior to the pickup. The streets become patrolled by slow moving trucks driven by, what appear to be, denizens of the very trailer parks our dear daisyfae escaped from. The trucks are battered, dirty, and emit foul odors – – much like the drivers themselves. It’s like Christmas for them!

This year, I hauled out a 20 year old fireplace rack and a broken heater. I returned to the garage for my next load of bulk trash, only to come back out to find both items already gone–claimed as a prized treasure by one of these trailer park entrepreneurs. Leaving a non-functional coffee pot and corroded rice cooker out next, I took station at a window to see how long they would last…about 5 minutes, with one seeker who drove by sneering at my paltry offering.

In all honesty, I feel good that something I could no longer use will find its way to a loving home…or trailer…where it might find a useful second life of (likely duct tape-bolstered) productivity.

Would that we all have that same opportunity of second chances in life.

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10 Responses to “…another man’s treasure”

  1. Rob Says:

    Man, I wish we had people like that around here to haul off the trash we don’t need for free….wait a minute….no I don’t! It’s a small price to pay indeed to take away the stuff that’s no longer of use without subjecting ourselves to…well…like you said!

  2. silverstar98121 Says:

    It’s apparent Rob has never lived the other side of the equation, and has a disdain for us trailer trash. He should think of us as recyclers, instead. Instead of going to a landfill, where it will spew it’s toxic elements, the stuff picked up by the dumpster divers has a second lease on life. Perhaps a rusted out rice cooker becomes a pot of petunias.
    My boyfriend made his living dumpster diving for a couple of years. It was great during the dot-com bust here in Seattle, with new and nearly new stuff appearing in dumpsters nightly, as the former dot.commers slunk away without paying their rent. He used to buy abandoned storage lockers, too, and sell the stuff off. Most recently, he pulled three working computers from a dumpster, and they weren’t even that old. Computers have some really nasty stuff in them, and are supposed to be properly disposed of to keep from poisoning the groundwater. Not only did he save someones grandchildren from being poisoned, three people who were too poor to buy computers, now have computers.

  3. azahar Says:

    I’ve been on both sides of the equation and it’s definitely a win-win situation.

    A few more examples of redneck improvisation. 🙂

  4. Dolce Says:

    We call it “redistribution of assets”. However, often this “redistribution” happens whether you put the stuff out on the pavement or not. *sigh*. Thievery seems far more efficient.

  5. kyknoord Says:

    I’m glad we don’t have anything like that in my neighbourhood. I’d be terrified that my crappy old car would vanish.

  6. azahar Says:

    Ha, kyknoord! 🙂

    Hey, gnukid, what’s happened to your avatar?

  7. nursemyra Says:

    lots of people live for the “Council Cleanup Days” here in Sydney, especially when they occur in the posh areas. when I was 19 I furnished a 3 bedroom house entirely from rich people’s cast offs…..

  8. daisyfae Says:

    my sisters first husband (1/3) was a trash collector – and his territory covered one of the nicer neighborhoods in the city. we were always amazed at the “high quality” trash that he’d bring home. at the same time, there would be trucks driving our neighborhood gleaning our cast offs… perhaps the only great joni mitchell song is “shadows and light”, where she captures it well – The perils of benefactors, the blessings of parasites. i think it’s lovely…

  9. thegnukid Says:

    Rob – it really is a boon to be able to have the town cart away the stuff. Otherwise I’d be sneaking around looking for dumpsters…or the yards of people I don’t like…to drop off.

    silverstar – yep, that’s it! And I’m betting if you threw the stuff out, there’s a chance it even got a third life somewhere

    azahar – great link…duct tape is one of the best inventions in life. As to the avatar, I think a lot of the new (gnu) kids to wordpress are suffering the “missing” avatar…they claim to be working it

    dolce – a shame when there are legitimate opportunities to “redistribute”

    kyknoord – absolutely! you have to be careful of keeping other stuff you really want away from the street or it’ll disappear with no clue

    nursemyra – I certainly wouldn’t consider my area remotely posh, but am still glad someone can use the stuff. And, yeah, there were quite a few kids on the search as well..as you, likely furnishing their first place

  10. Rob Says:

    @silverstar98121: Hmm. Disdain? Perhaps. You’re right, though. I’ve never lived the other side of the equation. And, as time goes by, my disdain is probably lessening, but it all depends on the circumstances.

    Mind you, I have a penchant for not throwing anything away and now I can not move in my garage (and there is no hope of actually putting vehicles in there); I’m not sure what that says about me.

    Thanks to you (and the others) for furthering my education and perhaps strengthening my resolve to see that usable stuff gets to people who need it, but can’t afford it, instead of to the dump.

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