It’s come around again. The annual street side junk collection. All over Perth, people place all their accumulated “junk” that does not fit in a bin onto the verge to be removed by the council and dumped in some unspecified furniture and appliance graveyard.
This strangely compelling event brings fourth bevies of beaten up utes which drive slowly around the suburbs, with furtive forays into the rubbish piles to retrieve discarded treasures.
Few of us have not succumbed to the temptation to kid ourselves that the bike we see on the pile is a “must have” until we find, when we get home that the front wheel is buckled beyond repair or the seat post is likely to lead to a visit to the proctologist if you sit down too hard. The bike then goes onto your pile until it is picked up by the next hopeful dreamer. I have seen a bike magically move several blocks up and down the streets in this way.
I did once drive through one of our more salubrious suburbs where truly a rich person’s trash can be a poor man’s treasure.
I espied a beautifully carved oak chair wantonly tossed on the verge. According to the children with me at the time the car came to a screeching stop and after a tense silence as I scanned for observers I purportedly said in a voice of chilling intent,
“Children! Get out of the car and get that chair…NOW!”
A little remnant of Liberty fabric and a quick cushion recover and the chair came up a treat.
Sometimes an object is to good to pass by. I have heard of people riding children’s tricycles home even though they had no kids because it was “such a lovely tricycle”. We had an old cash register with no charm whatsoever but the drawer was locked and I kept it hoping that one day we could open it and find wads of forgotten cash.
It weighed a ton and remained a tripping hazard until at last I bit the bullet and loaded it on the trolley to add to the pile. The vibration must have loosened the mechanism for when I dumped it on the pile I heard a distinct “ding” and the drawer shot open to expose a broken spring a marble and 2 buttons. It was gone from the pile in 5 minutes.
I have managed this year to avoid the temptation to pick anything up (much to my spouse’s long suffering relief) but I was sorely tempted by a chair that I swear was Chippendale and a tin trunk that looked to be full of treasure but actually contained a small rug that smelled like something dead had been wrapped in it (perhaps it had; I did not enquire.)