If you live in or near my village, you know that last Monday (right around Earth Day) was the every-other-year “put ANYTHING out at the curb and the garbage man will take it” event in my little upper-middle-class whitebread corner of suburbia. It is notable, however, that the garbage-man rarely gets thirty percent of what goes out to the street starting the Saturday before because MARAUDING HORDES WITH TRUCKS AND TRAILERS come from EVERYWHERE (and I really do mean everywhere) to pore-over and claim those yuppie castoffs as their own.
It has actually turned into something of a biennial spectator-sport here. This is the weekend that residents drag out their (usually pretty upper-middle-class) junk, go back to their decks and porches, pour a drink, and Watch the Mayhem.
There will be traffic-jams, skirmishes over who saw what first, and low-speed-fender-benders caused by people stopping in traffic to Grab That Usually Still Very Functional Goodie. Eek.
I’m genuinely happy to see the recycling happen – you can scroll back in this blog and discover that my family’s motto heads that direction – but for years I’ve been trying to figure out what “broadcast utility” out there in the universe informs all these people who obviously DON’T live here that this is the day to clog the very-narrow streets of my village with their trailers and Chevolet Subdivisions. (Yeah, the vehicle-type is a strong tipoff. Any annoying local tumbrel weaving through my neighborhood is almost always a Lexus MegaDumpster operated by some soccer-mom who is running stopsigns because she is one-handing her &%$#@! cellphone.)
At any rate, it is manic enough that the smarter ones of us living here know to lay low for that forty-eight hours and use their bicycles or foot-power for short errands whenever possible.
In all candor, and to offer full disclosure: I myself am not immune to the siren song of the scavengables. I have recovered and rehabilitated, among other things, many toys, several computers, and at least two snowblowers over the years, most repaired and donated to someone who can use them and all because people Don’t Know How To Fix Stuff Anymore (But Me And My Brothers DO.) This tinkerer-skill-set is very much a mixed blessing, because it takes a bit of conscious self-control to suppress the Scottish (read as: cheap) genes galloping through the DNA of my family in order to not have a garage-full and basement-full of projects-in-waiting … especially when there’s a half-gutted bathroom at the end of my own hallway here still in need of attention.
Summary: one man’s junk is another man’s guilt-trip –