Aug 242007

I just had a very surreal moment while taking packages to the post office. As an aside… yes, I always take my eBay packages to the post office around 2 am. You see, I live literally next door and the lobby stays unlocked all night giving me access to their scale with no one around. But that’s not the point…

I had several large boxes so my arms were loaded and my chin barely rested on the top of the pile, delicately keeping everything balanced. As I passed through the parking lot of my apartment complex my “spidey sense” started tingling and I noticed four young neighborhood thugs (actually low-level gang members/hangers on) coming out of the dumpster enclave with plastic bags partially full of recyclables. Two guiltily scurried off in front me, heads down while the other two held back and I managed to get in front of them. When I stopped momentarily, setting the packages on a convenient fence to rebalance, one of the guys approached the trash can next to me:

“Excuse me, sir,” he began, me assuming that ‘do you have a cigarette?’ would be the next thing out of his mouth since one was dangling from mine, “but is it wrong for us to go through the garbage since we’re careful not to leave any kind of mess?”

“No, man, you’re just trying to make a buck. Garbage, by definition, no longer belongs to anyone. Go for it, just don’t wake the neighbors or make a mess.”

Its funny how people react. Here’s this chubby, barefoot, heavily tattooed, middle aged guy wandering the streets in the middle of the night carrying 5 big boxes, and this street thug is asking my permission to grab some bottles and cans from the trash. Whenever a cop passes me on one of these late-night tracks they slow down to check me out, but this kid’s worried about what I think.

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