|How I Graduated from Dumpster Digging School.
||[Sep. 28th, 2005|09:53 am]
It was the fall of 1994, Eugene Oregon, and I had just returned from traveling all over the states, going through a breakup and landing in with a group of strangers that took me in like a stray hippy dog. All I had was a backpack, a sleeping bag, a few books, and a small change of summer clothes.|
A sweet Shakespeare student from the University of Oregon, named Harold Gene, let me share his room in this strange house on 4th Street. Also occupying the house were Matt, Sam and Eve and their punk baby Llweyen, and Stanley and His Dog Smiley.
Now every evening at sunset, it was my custom to sit on the front porch and drink a cheap ghetto beer. At the same time everyday the front door would open and Stanley and his dog Smiley would emerge from the house, Stanley would put on his trench coat, and they would take off into the night, not to return until somewhere around sunrise.
One particular evening as I watched Stanley and Smiley getting ready to leave, I asked him, "Stanley, where do you and Smiley go every night?". With a big grin he said, "You wanna go with us?". So I said, "Let me get my coat".
Stanley took me around what seemed like the whole city of Eugene through the alley-ways. This was a unique perspective that I had never seen before. It was so strange as the twilight gave way to a starry night and visiting this unknown parallel city.
Along the way we stopped at every trash dumpster we came to, and Stanley would look inside and pull out one or two things, examine them, and sometimes put them back. "What are you doin'?", "Dumpster diggin'!".
Stanley explained to me that he has found numerous perfectly good electronics, fixed them up, them sold them to the pawn shop. He often comes by perfectly good clothes. One of his favorite dumpsters was the one behind Whole Foods, with perfectly good organic fresh vegetables and bagels.
After about an hour of this he imparts the greatest secret to me. "Sometimes, every now and then, if you are lucky you will come up on the dumpster of a breakup. Angry lovers throw away the most wonderful treasures."
At last I worked up the nerve to try my hand at dumpster digging and looked inside of one. I think I found some old mans tennis shoes, but nothing really good for me.
Stanley says, "thats ok, don't worry about it", and he reached in and pulled out a rolled up scroll with a ribbon tied around it, and says, "Congratulations, you have graduated from Dumpster Digging School".
i love this story!! I used to dumpster dive all of the time in Austin, cool stuff galore! Especially near UT campus in May when the kids are leaving!!
I remember when I first heard this story we were discussing the Intranet in the Pedal Master. Graffiti sigils, sign painting, oracular pronouncements from homeless mendicants. A city electrified by its own juices. (sigh)