Second Hand

I suppose I get it from my dad, but I’ve always been a bit of a hoarder. Just like my dad, my garage is full of unopened boxes containing goodness knows what. A couple of the boxes, for example, remain unopened from when I left Brisbane at the beginning of 1988. I’d like to think I know what’s in them, and I definitely know one contains some 45 records, but the others are a mystery.

Along with this, there’s my interest in second hand goods. While some people find second-hand things horrid, I quite like them. I have the idea that if someone has already owned them, they’ve already proven their utility. Last year, for example I bought the best pair of jeans I’ve ever owned from a second hand store at Coonamble in Western NSW. While I normally need to have the legs shortened (always a pain in the arse), the person who owned these jeans was clearly the same height and weight as myself, meaning no alterations were necessary. Twelve months later, they still fit perfectly and they cost just $2. I’ve toyed with the idea of seeing if I could order another pair by mail order. I also bought some second hand sox and a great pair of great Calvin Klein underpants which also fitted perfectly (in all the right places), but let’s not have a discussion about second hand underwear, because I’ve already had that debate with people who were appalled.

My friends recognise this. Every year or so, for example, my friend Sue attempts to throw out some of my collected treasures. Inevitabily, this has lead to an argument, so she no longer bothers. And when I was living with Damien, I arrived home one night with a set of 1960s encyclopedias I’d found in the laneway. Knocking on the door, I said, “Let me in, I need your help with something”. Knowingly, he replied, “You’ve got those fucking encylopedias, haven’t you?”.

But I’m getting better at ridding my life of clutter. Recently at work, for example I threw out several sulo bins of rubbish from my office. Admittedly most of it wasn’t mine – it was junk inherited from other people who’ve had the office who haven’t bothered to clean up – but a fair amount of it was. The last time I threw out so much was four or five years ago, and generally speaking I find I can only do it, by first getting rid of the storage items. The first time, I had to slice my workstation in two (not as bad as it sounds); the last time, I threw out some old book-cases.

And last night, I was able to resist this little treasure I discovered in the laneway behind home. You probably need to click on the image to take a closer look to realise what they are. And I apologise, in advance, for the poor quality image captured at night on my mobile phone, but I just had to grab a photograph because I just knew they’d be gone today. ‘

Despite knowing this, I resisted them. Of course, a couple of years ago I would have thought these leather chairs made from forty-four gallon drum frames would have looked great on the balcony. I might have even thought they were discarded items by an up and coming artist that would one day be worth millions of dollars. But now I realise they’re just crap and I don’t need them in my life.

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