Wednesday, May 23, 2007


As regular readers of this space will know, it was supposed to be heavy-items-pick-up week for garbage in my neighbourhood last week. I guess they're behind, though, because my heavy items are still there. I must say I am a little annoyed with the local authorities because through their negligence I have now gone from a guy throwing out heavy items to a guy who just has a pile of junk in his front yard. But that's not my point -- they'll get it eventually. I hope.

No, what I want to tell you is that the other night I was sitting in my living room when a car pulled up in front of my house. Out jumped one of the occupants who quickly apprised my heavy items, snatched up an old VCR that I had thrown out, got back in the car, and sped away. And it wasn't just the VCR either, by the way. My old lawn mower and weed eater had disappeared from the trash heap earlier in the week. And this very morning, my old cans and bottles were spirited away before the recycling truck could get to them. Now, I seem to recall hearing at one point that your garbage was yours until picked up by the municipality and that taking someone's garbage is stealing. But that's not my point -- I didn't want that junk anyway, and if someone else can make use of it, so much the better.

I suppose it was a little annoying that the people in question didn't ask if they could take it. It is on my property, after all, and wouldn't it be civil to knock on the door and say, "Sorry, but it looks as though you're throwing that out. Would you mind if I took it?"? But that's not my point, either -- this is not a part of the world where people stand on such ceremonies and that's fine.

No, what really bothered me about the incident was that somewhere along the line, I have become part of a class of people where my very refuse is valuable enough for people to search out and take for their own. Somehow have ascended to some kind of elite realm where stuff that is not even good enough to take up space in my closet is snapped up by eager passers-by.

My trash is literally another man's treasure.

Except for the junk that's still sitting there.

1 comment:

Jessi said...

Back in the early 90's this was actually much more popular. I can remember it being a big event. At least in sydney mines. Everyone would put there heavy garbage out and then people would drive around in their cars and look through all the piles and take what they needed or wanted. I can remember always being excited for it. My mom and I would put the stuff out by the curb and I would scramble back up to our house and watch the people come from the picture window. I thought it was cool that people would drive around and take other people's garbage.....mind you I was about 5 at the time.