It’s that time of year again where my family insists I be locked up. Not that I’ve done anything wrong yet —it’s just that they know something embarrassing is imminent. It’s the annual or bi-annual council pick up, you see. That time of year when distracting piles of junk—no let me rephrase—someone else’s treasure lies on the curb for all to see. The very innards of their soul lie naked for public perusal.
The last pick up was dismal. Even for a seasoned fixer-upper like myself, there was little to fix. It was already broken. Nothing to paint—it was beyond redemption. The GFC had a left a ruthless aftermath. There was nothing worth salvaging from the piles of flagrant rubbish that lay scattered forlornly on curbs.
This year appears slightly more encouraging. Early sightings have been positive. Furniture appears whole and wholly salvageable. A garden pot, seen, but not taken, is unbroken. I have already helped myself to a perfectly good book case. Yet the thought that I am on the prowl is inciting sheer terror in my family. The memory of the three-legged garden arch is far too fresh in their minds.
This was the year I had to abort the first attempt at squeezing a metal garden arch into my diminutive run- about, forced instead to hide the arch in nearby bush and return at dusk with a bigger car and three children. The fact that the arch had one leg missing didn’t deter my ardour. I had visions for my arbour.
As I write, a creeper grows majestically over my find. And yet, my triumph is tainted by the thought that the retrieval of the three-legged arch is a story I know my children have stored away in ‘the most embarrassing thing Mom ever did’ memory bank. I know they will recount the embellished tale to my grandchildren when I am old and fragile.
The truth of the matter is, they have little to fear. I glean, I do not indiscriminately grab. The treasures I find are required, not simply stored away for a rainy day. I am no hoarder. And nor am I a slimy reseller. I do not have the time or energy to troll the neighbourhoods from dawn to dusk with a trailer, (umm, anyone own one?).
Indeed, my act of retrieval is a selfless one. I prefer to be known as a drive-by recycler. I am a wanton superwoman of super-waste. I am a selfless one-woman crusader against our throwaway society, one that shamelessly discards old for new.
Be back in a tick … there’s a garden pot that needs picking up…