Although it’s been quite some time since I posted something in my “Discarded” category, I was instantly compelled to do so tonight.
My “Discarded” category of posts is about the interesting and unusual things often left in my back laneway for other people to take away. Although I realise the dumping of old furniture and rubbish in the back laneway causes distress to some, I’m quite sanguine about it. I already think there’s too much crap in the world, and we’re putting too much stuff into landfill (including a disturbing amount of food), that I’m happy for people to offer up “something to the universe” in the hope someone else will take it away and do something with it.
On occasion, I’ve brought the items upstairs and have made them part of my own life. The lamp in the corner of my lounge-room for example was something I found in the back laneway, and with a little dusting off, found it was just perfect for my house.
Other times there have been some things that I’ve truly wondered about. For example, there was once some furniture made out of 44 gallon drums. Yes, seriously. That’s taking recycling to a whole new level, especially since they were neither interesting nor attractive. I couldn’t imagine anyone who would want them. And so on that occasion, I thought they should have simply been sent off to the dump. Seriously, who could find a home for these chairs?
But other times, I’ve been truly curious about what’s been dumped in the back laneway. There was a time a few years ago when I noticed a LOT of furniture in the back laneway. As I wrote at the time…
Just a few doors down from my place there was an older wardrobe, a couple of matresses, a bedside table and various other items probably from somene’s bedroom. As soon as I saw the furniture I knew exactly what it probably meant. It probably means one of the two old ladies from that house has passed away, which is very sad. I could be wrong, but you just kinda know when someone has passed away. The beds, the matresses, the furniture no longer matters. And for a lot of people it’s important to discard these items as quickly as possible. I remember when my dad died, for example, and my mum burned some of dad’s things the following day. I didn’t really understand it then. I thought it was all too sudden. I turns out, though, it’s a fairly common cultural norm amongst many cultures all around the world.
And so tonight as I went downstairs to the garbage room to deliver some of my own crap back to the universe, I noticed there was a wheelchair in the back laneway. “What’s the back-story there? I wondered to myself. Someone who used to personally need a wheelchair but who no longer does? Good news? Someone who had cared for a family member for a while but no longer does? Maybe sad news? Someone who had been doing a Bette Midler or Lady Ga-Ga tribute show?
Although it looks like “junk”, just about every piece of discarded furniture presumably has a good “back story”…