Sunday, September 9, 2012

Trash picking: bad habit or art form?

I am legendary in our household for trash picking--even at times from ours. But with a newish house and extra space to fill, this summer has been especially fine.

One evening while Capel and I were on our usual evening walk around the block, I found a great children's desk. Immediately, we abandoned the walk and carted the thing home. Granted, it is a bit GREEN. But it can be painted and it certainly makes a fine, much needed printer stand:

A week ago or so, I was sitting on the porch and noticed, right across the street, a coffee table upended in the trash, abandoned by our neighbor for the modest sin of missing a glass top. I promptly went out for a walk, veering by the thing to see if it had any potential. It seemed to. Nice shape. Real wood--no MDF. And a lighter shape than the blocky chest we're currently using as a coffee table, which would be much more useful as a blanket chest in the bedroom.

After Capel came home, I persuaded him to walk across the street. We knocked on the neighbor's door, introduced ourselves and asked politely if we could adopt the thing. Sure, the guy said, looking a little puzzled and half abashed. I broke the glass top last night, he said, in explanation. So we carried it home. It looks terrific against our wide-plank floors and I've found a company nearby that will cut a top for it. And now the neighbor waves every time we come and go, so we also made a friend.

But the coup de gras yesterday morning was a ginormous mirror standing in a half-unwrapped ball of packing in someone's front yard with the yard clippings -- not trash, clearly, as trash isn't picked up until Monday or Tuesday -- an offering to passersby. On our way back home with the car, it was still there, so we did a U-turn and pulled up beside it. Yup. Treasure.

And then there's the cat, Minky, our most treasured family member. Properly speaking, I only plucked her out of a cage on the street on the upper west side of Manhattan one day when we were out for some other purpose. The cat rescue folks who had her on the street advertising their work were the ones who plucked her out of the trash, thankfully. We couldn't resist her. Still can't.

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