Wednesday, December 19, 2007

One Man's Trash...

We find all sorts of odd things laying on the sidewalk in our neighborhood: hub caps, car batteries, mattresses, dead rats, broken beer bottles, broken bicycles, clothing, used condoms, semi-empty food containers.

Sometimes you see motorists toss whole bags of trash out their car window and onto the sidewalk. Sometimes you see the entire contents of an apartment on the sidewalk. We never like to see people evicted from their apartments. The sidewalk is where all their stuff ends up.

We often get rid of our old stuff in a similar fashion. If we have an old lamp, say, or a set of chairs we no longer want, we don't bother with a yard sale. We just display it on the street corner. It's gone within a few minutes. That seems to be one of the ways people communicate in the city. Here, I don't need this any more. You can have it. And then it's gone.

So I wasn't particularly disturbed when I saw this box of vegetables the other day. I was walking my daughter to school and the box was half in the street, half on the curb. This is the kind of vegetable box that would be delivered by a food wholesaler to a restaurant or a grocery store. How did it end up it the street? Who would have tossed it there? Or did it fall off the truck?

We didn't bother ourselves over it. We just kept walking. But there it was again the second day. And the third day it had moved onto the sidewalk. By day four, it had found its way across the sidewalk and was nestled up against the front of an apartment building, half-buried in a pile of fallen leaves. Now I had to investigate.

I opened the box and saw that it was filled with celery, about 40 pounds worth. That would have made a lot of soup, I figured, or maybe one very large Waldorf salad. The celery was getting a little long in the tooth, not very appetizing. But obviously nobody else wanted it. It needed a home. And suddenly I had an idea...

Now the box is sitting in a corner of the garden. My chore for the day? Get out the big cutting board and my sharpest serrated knife. This celery might have been destined for the salad bowl at one point. But now, it's got a date with my compost pile.


onestraw said...

Curbside recycling!

Bonnie said...

Hey, do we live in the same neighborhood, separated at birth by 3,400 miles? I am so sick of cleaning up bags of McDonald's trash and dirty diapers. And the condoms...had one stuck to my shoe when I got in the car the other day. UGH!

Celery would be an exciting change.

Ed Bruske said...

Rob, we are very much into curbside recycling here. There's so much to choose from.

Bonnie, I'm sure there is a karmic link between neighborhoods. But I think you've outed yourself. Do you really think anyone's going to believe you picked up that condom on the sidewalk?