Saturday, November 27, 2010
Picking up trash around a movie theater sometimes yields oddball treasures. I have found every denomination of money up to a $20 bill, endless Happy Meal toys (mostly broken), finger puppets, gloves, mints, magnifiers, balls, beads and more balls.
More common of course are the items solidly in the realm of garbage: drink vessels and candy wrappers ad infinitum, used condoms, diapers, and even pooped pants (yes, adult man-pants). Then there are discarded items like notes left on windshields to berate bad parking, grocery lists, and love notes. Sometimes you have to wonder if they were lost or dropped deliberately. Some things contain embarrassing personal info or just weird glimpses into a life; for instance, a list of someone's children tallying the monthly costs of all the prescription drugs they were taking.
My favorite things (like those pictured) are kind of personal/anthropological. Apparently self-motivational things like photos where someone's face has been vandalized, or drawings by kids (or adults) showing their attitude toward life. Once I picked up a ton of giftwrap paper and ribbons right after Christmas, which gave me visions of a trashy family opening their presents in their van and dumping all the wrapping on the ground so they wouldn't have to deal with it at home. There have been multiple Bible-study sheets with funny answers written in, dorky heartbroken notes, you name it.
What does one do with stuff like this? Normally you just end up throwing it away, but recently a friend of mine started working at a nearby building. One day an offhand comment I made seemed to reveal that he was worried about me leaving embarrassing things on his windshield (because I said I would, and told him some of my ideas). It seemed like he started parking differently after that, in a more "safety in numbers" fashion, nosing his car deeper into the co-worker motor-cluster. So, I keep him on his toes by sending him photos like the above, saying, "Consider this put on your windshield."