Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I heart junk.

On Sesame Street, Oscar the grouch lived in a trashcan, which was supposed to make you think, ‘yuck,’ right? But trash is good. Oscar was a smart SOB.

Reading my friend Maries blog, she was impressed by the trash pickup setup in Barcelona. She writes that there are “bins at the end of the block. The bins serve 2-4 blocks each. One bin is for glass, one for plastic, one for cardboard, and one for wheelie bags/coffee grinds/egg shells and the like.”

While this is amazingly efficient for a large city, I think we have them beat in the small town I live in. Here we have a central town-wide “transfer station” which people the town over bring their trash to, open all day Saturday, half-day Sunday, and Wednesday evenings only. The garbage goes in the compacter bin, where it is crunched and munched down to an airless mass that is hauled away to God-knows-where. Our contribution to this trash is kept pretty trim by recycling and composting in the backyard. Then there are several other stations at the transfer station. One large, and I do mean large, bin is for paper and cardboard, and another for glass and plastic and other type 3 and 4 recyclables. There’s also an even larger bin where you put old furniture, in which I’ve found a usable desk, and an antique fold out sewing machine table (see below).

But that’s not most the impressive part, yet. At the back of the whole area is a large shed that’s called the “Mall.” Just inside its doors to the right are several shelves which people keep stocked with their old books, paperback and hardcovers. Between the library and this resource, I haven’t bought a new fiction book in the past five years. If I wait a bit, and don't find it in the library, a copy of whatever I want turns up here.

A short list of some of the great stuff I’ve found at the “Mall”:

A hand-crafted child’s rocking chair. (Which our kids are getting too big for now, so I suppose I should redeposit)

A VCR, in fully working order.

A DVD player, in full working order.

A vacuum cleaner, in full working order.

Kids jeans, pre-worn and pre-shrunk.

A full set of Popular Mechanics Home Handyman Guides.

Two humidifiers (giving us now one for each room after the ones we purchased. Seems people here just buy new humidifiers each year, rather than just buying the new filters and cleaning the old one each season.)

A fold-out camping table.

An antique fold-out sewing machine table (which I refinished and converted into a fold-out N-scale model train table. I’ll post pix one day if anyone is interested.)

Two or three times a year the Mall is emptied out, the contents donated to local churches and Goodwill and the Salvation Army. So you never end up looking at the same old junk for a really long time. There’s always new junk. And the junk is always pretty new.

An unscrupulous resident might say that this is an e-bayers paradise, but I’m not that jaded, or desperate, or maybe intelligent enough to see it that way, yet. What I do see is that, though we don’t officially live in a rich town, we do live in a town with a few rich people. And apparently the wealthy have a lot of junk.

So, let me know what you need. I'm sure we can work out a deal. Me and Oscar, we got connections.


Sara Kocher said...

I'm WAY behind on reading your blog, because life gets in the way of my reading, but am trying to catch up. Meant to tell you earlier..I love your writing. I laugh, I think (no crying yet), etc.

I would love to see the N-scale former sewing machine table. We have train sets here in five different scales, but none have permanent homes yet. The Bunster has both Brio (from his older brother) and Geo-trax (from Santa), plus a little train set that fits into a plastic tote box (from my sister). J has a small N-scale set, and the Bunster's brother has an HO train set. On top of that, there's a Rockenbock set that the two boys share, although that's not exactly a train. I don't have a train of my own, but do get to play with everyone else's.

Oh, and live in Mayberry, don't you?

mmclaurin said...

You got it Sara! I will take pix and post in the near future.

We also have N scale, HO scale and little wooden Brio trains. We even have an S scale set (bigger) which we got from my wife's Dad, the kid's grandfather, which currently lives in the box it came in and which I have never put together, but can't seem to either address or dismiss. Maybe when I get a week with nothing else to do. Which likely means sometime after retirement and death. Which, for me, will likely be about a week.

And we prefer the term Podunk, thankyouverymuch.