Another’s man junk is most likely now mine
I think it started when I was like nine.
I saw this piece of shit mini-piano sitting next to the dumpster in my babysitter’s apartment complex. It didn’t play for squat and was missing a key, but I couldn’t believe that was a valid enough reason to just discard it forever. Because forever, man, that’s like permanent stuff.
I saved a gilded gold mirror that I spray painted white, black, then white again that I wish to God I had never sold for $5 during a mad Craigslist dispersal two years ago. I saw it hanging in the store window of our local Urban Outfitters one day on a lunch hour walk and I wanted to fucking cry. Damn it’d look so good a bright, sunny yellow right now.
Thanks to the students and my proximity to the dumpsters in the alleys behind their sorority houses and dormitories, I’ve gotten countless free rolling Rubbermaid carts for my kid’s Legos. Those things don’t come cheap and once I throw out the previous owner’s chapstick and unused band-aides, douse it with some bleach and Joy dish soap, I reckon I’ve saved myself a few hundred bucks by now. Chairs are the easiest. I’m just waiting for you to ditch your ugly, scratched up eyesore so I can paint that thing, recover the seat cushion and forget it was ever resting under a bunch of nasty banana peels.
By my twenties, I knew where every Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value World & Value Village in lower Michigan was. I could do just about anything with some cans of spray paint, wood glue and glass knobs. I could practically scan the store from the doorway to sniff out where all the good stuff would be. If there was any wood shelves, silver trays or jadeite bowls in attendance, we’d surely be meeting up. As I got older, my tastes refined (as did my mental calculator) and now the hunt was on for Milkglass, vintage paperstuffs and anything I had noticed priced way too high on eBay. After a few years though, I think people started to catch on to the glee on my face, shimmer in my eyes and clued in that it wasn’t because I was packing-ratting the hell out of my own house. I was a regular and pretty much every other regular knew me, and it got so if I so much as looked at something with interest, anyone standing between me and whateveritwas would make a bee-line to beat me. I guess it was about time they finally got their wits about themselves and wised up, maybe everyone has. I’ve had to change my hunting grounds because about all I can find at Sal Val or any of my other haunts are Rachel Ashwell sheets and pillow cases. I better be careful or they’ll start nabbing those as well.
Of course I’ve got new secret spots, but damn if I’m going to share them with any of you.