Sunday, 3 August 2014

Trash treasure hunt

I'm hearing noises in the night.

Things being moved.   Things being dropped.

It seems to be coming from the street.

Either the possums are hyperactive or it's our annual Council kerbside collection.

My neighbourhood has started early and every day we've been dumping pieces of furniture, appliances and all manner of junk on the kerb ready for collection.

By night, shadowy figures cruise the streets looking for "gold" among the rubbish.

They'll be sorely disappointed in my neck of the woods.   This year's collection should be renamed "dump your mattresses on the footpath" as there's a hardly a house without a Sealy Posturepedic adorning the driveway.

Judging by the state of these mattresses there's a growing level of incontinence in the area or people have been butchering animals on their beds.  It's not a pretty sight.

I've never felt compelled to join in on the "treasure hunt".  I tend to think there's a good reason why that 1960s couch, TV, table leg or whatever has been dumped.   I don't think I need to rifle through it to verify.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm happy to reuse, recycle and "upcycle" as much as anyone.  It's just that this stuff is clearly junk and just because it's free, don't make it right.

But clearly I'm in the minority judging by the nightly slow-crawl of cars and utes around the neighbourhood.  It may be dark and cold, but these folks are ready to swoop like a seagull on a hot chip.

Perhaps they've been inspired by Antiques Roadshow and live in hope of stumbling across an original Van Gough painting or Louis XV chair in among the stained mattresses.

My neighbours are also keen to get in on the act.  It's like a second Christmas for them.

They've just put the junk they collected from last year's kerbside collection back out on the kerb for someone else to "enjoy".   Try as they might, they couldn't find a use for it during the past 52 weeks. This has left a little space in their garage and their hearts for the next round of trash hoarding.

Instead of the Circle of Life, this is more like the Circle of Crap where neighbours just swap useless stuff until the entire community agrees that the item really is junk and should actually find its way to the tip.

Of course I wish the nightly scavengers the best of luck during this year's Festival of Detritus, but if someone you know presents you with a "new" (but slightly yellowed) mattress... walk away.

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