Monday, March 1, 2010

love and loathing

Two or three weeks ago I discovered a Dumpster jammed full of black garbage bags, each of them in turn stuffed full of a woman's discarded possessions. The bags contained so much high-quality merchandise--handmade books, designer clothes and shoes, kitchen and home furnishings--that after loading my bicycle and my bike bag, I left the remainder on display next to the dumpster in hopes that someone else might benefit. The items I discovered also made it clear what sort of person this woman was, or at least what sort of person she thought herself to be: Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama supporter, liberal, poet, lover of high-end consumer style.

A couple of days ago, digging into a Dumpster near this first one, I found other black garbage bags...and soon enough realized that she had been back with more. More handmade books, more poetry journals, and: six purses, six pairs of shoes (including like-new hiking boots and cowboy boots), scarves, belts, writing paper, cards and envelopes, designer writing pens, boxes of tea, pillow cases, kitchen towels...and a double pocketful of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, all inside those black bags.

Hey, I love you babe--so much good stuff that I'm now able to take in to the charities, and a really cool writing pen that I'm now using--and I hope to find the third installment soon, should you be of a mind to discard more. And hey, I loathe you--what an awful sort of myopic self-indulgence your waste reveals for someone who fancies herself a poet. An angelheaded hipster you're not.

I saw the best stuff of a generation locked away in Dumpsters, destroyed by the madness of consumption.

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