Postcard TO Maui
Maui Winter

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Maui recycling story
This time I brought a husband, two kids and a ridiculously small amount of money.

Maui recycling story

...I started going the distance.

Maui recycling story

...offensive on a personal, islandic, and planetary level.

Maui recycling story

I tucked the bag into the door of the mammoth antique of a microwave I was lugging.
A Piece of Garbage
by Robin Supak

Maui garbage recycling"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.
Maui garbage recyclingSuch 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.
Maui garbage recyclingI 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.
Maui garbage recyclingMy 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.
Maui garbage recyclingEverything 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.
Maui garbage recyclingAnyway, 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.
Maui garbage recyclingMost 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.
Near Los Angeles, 1999, photo by Robin Supak, click for big image, back button to return.
Maui garbage recyclingThe 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.
Maui garbage recyclingLooking 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 lugging.
Maui garbage recyclingI 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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Postcard TO Maui
Maui Winter

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