The hard rubbish drives of Melbourne are some of the most exciting times in the suburbs. A large pile of assorted rubbish can yield screams of excitement from me like nothing else. Now my children yell at me to stop, or send me photos of items from a walk home from the train station with a question mark attached to the text.
Yesterdays yield gave me bamboo stakes for my sweet pea trellis, and a few weeks ago I found a selection of wonderful ceramic and terracotta pots. Granted they were stuffed with dead plants, and heavier than me, but thanks to my brother, we emptied them and brought them home for our garden.
Other winning items have been an old church pew garden chair from outside a manse in Brighton. A dining table that I sold for good money. A set of retro tulips drink stands and a hand carved rosewood table base, that now is now bearing an indoor tree fern, planted in a pot that I found, you guessed it on the side of the road. A small animal carry cage for our newly bought rabbit, who was due to go to the vet the next day.
Want versus need is why we have landfill and why we are subjected to flatpack furniture. I often think I want things and they don’t come my way, or what little money I do have to is spent on things I need like bills and food. But what I need? That often comes into my vision on a curb somewhere.
As a former card-carrying hippy, I do believe in seeing what you want in your minds eyes, and that every decision you make should have that vision in mind, but that’s at a very high level. Do you hold the vision of drink tulips in your mind as you go about your day? No. What you do hold is the aesthetic that resonates within you and so you’re more attuned to spotting the gems.
More often than not I leave things for other people to find. When David and I first moved out, nearly everything was from the side of the road or charity shops. Everything is useful. The trick is to see what you need and take only that.
I have put out as many items as I have collected. Good things that I knew would be exciting for a roadside raider to find. Sometimes, and this might be considered odd, I would listen to people find things on my front nature strip. Once a man knocked on my door, telling me he was a refugee, and could he buy the single white bed out the front for his daughter who was sleeping on the floor.
“Hell no!” I stated. “I don’t want none of that sad refugee business here. You want a bed for your floor sleeping kid? You gotta earn it!” (I was living in Brighton at the time, a heavy liberal influence meant I turned into a cunt).
No, that didn’t happen. He was given the bed, a set of cute sheets my daughter deemed too babyish and girly, and a bedside table with spongbob stickers on the side. And I helped him put it in the car.
Hard rubbish connects us. We all have the same needs, wants, and crap in our house, but what is one level of crap for me, is a goldmine for someone else.
So slow down, take a look, and if you’re lucky you might mind that thing you’ve been looking for and you didn’t realise it until you saw it down your street.
Happy hunting, bunnies.