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site by supak
time I brought a husband, two kids and a ridiculously small amount of money.
started going the distance.
I started LOOKING INSIDE.
on a personal, islandic, and planetary level.
tucked the bag into the door of the mammoth antique of a microwave I was lugging.
||A Piece of Garbage
by Robin Supak
"I just thought you should know, my son peed on
that a few times," she said, snottily. At just that moment, the minivan finished
descending the speed bump and peeled out towards the next one. I hoisted it back up on my
shoulder, lamely heaving "I'll wash it!", but she was gone.
Such is an instance in the life
of the Village Garbage Lady (at home I'm referred to by the more dignified "Recycling
Queen"). Recently, I moved back here after nine years on the mainland. This time I
brought a husband, two kids, and a ridiculously small amount of stuff and money. We opted
for a fenced yard but no furniture over "lavish" ohanas right on the street. The
first few days were a haze of electronic withdrawal the likes of which I hope to know
again only when camping out far from civilization. We ended up singing Disnazi songs and
quoting favorite Simpsons episodes over and over again. Soon we had library privileges.
Books are great for stimulating the mind, but they make lousy furniture.
I started to notice, and
confiscate, stuff sitting out in the dumpster cubicles--waiting for the trashman, I
presume. To me, they were up for adoption. Perfectly sound chairs called out to my weary
butt, but that's the least of it. I found working lamps, tables, a desk, ride-on toys, a
toaster oven; lots of stuff we either could really use or just wanted.
My family was thrilled,
needless to say. I'd leave to get some exercise, and come back with a little something for
everyone. It made them so happy, in fact, they started to become disappointed if I didn't
score something useful, or at least interesting. So I started going the distance. I
started LOOKING INSIDE. It payed off immediately. I found bags of toys and hats and shoes
with the tags still on them, restaurant- quality cookware, a sports walkman, not to
mention piles of shells and huge chunks of coral. I found many books (including Dr.
Seuss's, and an entire set of late-70's Worldbook Encyclopedias), unopened packages of
notebook paper, markers with tops on them, and never sharpened pencils. I unearthed
pillows and blankets simply in need of a wash and a little needle and thread (which I also
found). Thanks to the clock-radio that I found, we not only got up on time, but we had
news, music, and the chance to win at least $101.00 every weekday morning.
Everything was cleaned
immediately, and many things needed to be fixed. Lost causes had to go back where they
came from, but they were rare, really, because it turns out I have an eye and an instinct
for the good stuff. And not only was I filling voids (our empty apartment and lack of
entertainment), but I was getting exercise, too. I ran between them, sometimes loaded
down, and held my breath for long intervals when necessary. Practice for the free-diving I
hope to sometime have the luxury to do.
Anyway, what I wanted to say to
Speed-Bump Racer was this: You find my salvaging your foam-rubber pad disgusting? I find
sending it to the landfill instead of washing it (which I'll do every time my son pees
on it), offensive on a personal, islandic, and planetary level.
Most people, I'm happy to say,
are very civilized about it. I think they realize I'm not digging out their leftover
pizza, just the good stuff they were too busy to fix, sell, or give away. Usually I get a
shaky "hello," a tenuous smile, and even a "thank you" if I happen to
have the lid open and they don"t even have to touch the thing. I'm quiet, courteous,
I don't touch personal stuff, and I always leave the trash area neater and more organized
than I found it.
The height of my recent career
(which I swear I'll give up when I get a decent job or find a working T.V., whichever
comes first) happened just the other day. I was approaching the end of my round. Tired,
filthy, and overloaded, I turned the corner on the last ster. Naturally, I scanned
around it first. There, right at my feet, was an upright, creased paper bag, full of sweet
smelling, folded, beautiful clothes, all of them in just about my size.
Looking back on it, I highly
doubt they were meant for me specifically. At the time, though, I closed my eyes to the
sunset and whispered " Thank you, Lady". Then, careful not to touch or wrinkle
anything, I tucked the bag into the door of the mammoth antique of a microwave I was
I ended up letting the micro go
back (too scared to see if it worked), but the clothes are staying. I love the designer
stuff, and I'll definitely keep the "Waikiki Rough Water Swim" T- shirts;
they're perfect for when I go out garbaging.
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