30 March 2009

One Man's Trash

You may have seen him downtown and in OTR: a tall, thin white guy who dumpster dives at many locations. He's very organized. His commodities, mostly aluminum and other metals, are piled into either an old shopping cart, or a two wheeled grocery cart. Yesterday I encountered him as I hoisted my own black plastic bag toward the dumpster's side door. "Don't do that!" somebody snapped. The voice came from inside the dumpster. I backed away, then made another more cautious approach. It was the guy. He was knee deep in trash, and intently focused on digging straight down. Something near the bottom had caught his eye, permitting him no time for social amenities. I stammered an apology. "Just leave it on the ground there," he instructed me, as if scolding a difficult child. "I'll take care of it when I'm done here." He didn't bother to look up. I wanted to ask him whether the slow economy had effected his schedule, what with scrap metal prices declining and all. Or did he think metal would make a come-back. But I don't think he wanted to talk. Whenever I pass the guy, he always seems appalled by everything he sees. So remember: Try not to toss your trash before checking the interior of the dumpster. The Scrap Metal Guy is very strict, very professional, and he doesn't have time for your nonsense.

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All original text (C) 2007, 2008 David J. Carney. All rights reserved.

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