Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Redneck Christmas

Our little town is in the midst of celebrating an annual holiday that Jerry and I didn't even know existed. But after a few days of observation from our living room windows, it became completely clear what it should be called: Redneck Christmas.

In reality, it's called trash day. But this isn't just any ordinary trash day. It is the one Monday this year that our town's garbage hauler has agreed to pick up absolutely anything you can push, pull or drag to the curb in front of your house.

The random items started piling up outside of people's homes as early as Saturday. Then the piles got bigger. And bigger. And pretty soon entire sidewalks disappeared. Frankly, I'm glad I don't have to park on the street because it's very likely that my car would've been covered with the contents of our neighbors' apparently overly cluttered basements.

Our block alone is a catch-all of household disorganization. As I watched more and more junk being brought to light from the depths of people's closets and crawl spaces, I couldn't help but wonder what the editors of my favorite magazine would think. Every month "Real Simple" does a special section on banning clutter, and none of the houses selected for its glossy pages could even hold a candle to the crap lining our street. I think the organization experts would just pass out from the sheer volume of it all.

Right at this very moment, the haulers are breaking their backs lifting couches with bad springs, broken air hockey tables, chairs with stained upholstery and various other bulky objects into the belly of the trash compactor. I'm not an expert at logistics by any means, but it seems that even one block's worth of crap would fill the truck to capacity.

Fortunately, the collectors had help. Last night, a parade of slow-moving vehicles drove up and down our street. When they got to what they apparently considered to be a promising pile of trash, the passenger door would open, someone would hop out armed with a flashlight and scour the mound. More times than not, the passenger would signal to the driver for help and something would get tossed inside the vehicle -- along with trash treasures from other streets.

The bed of one particular pickup truck was piled so high it would surprise me to find out that they made it home with everything they pilfered.

Jerry was so amused by the entire scene.

"Are you hungry? I have a leftover banana peel," he said, making fun of the looters as he watched from inside the house. "Or maybe you could lick out the remnants of my yogurt container."

All I know is that I think we felt a little left out. As first-time homeowners, we haven't had decades to amass a ton of clutter. And although I'm always up for scouring "trash-to-treasure" finds at a flea market or second-hand store, I'm not sure I feel comfortable driving around digging through the things people couldn't wait to get rid of, knowing that they're sitting by an upstairs window, making fun of the people who ransack their castaways.

Maybe next year we'll have something to contribute to Redneck Christmas. I'm pretty sure there's a stained throw rug up in the attic.

15 comments:

Pauline said...

That is absolutely hilarious. Kinda awesome too, haha. I don't think I would ever have anything to contribute, though... I rival Martha when it comes to organization.

"eagle eye" plainsman said...

A woman found what turned out to be a million dollar plus painting on the street in a similar midden heap in NYC a few years ago and researched it.

Turns out it was stolen decades ago and she received a major reward from the insurance co. plus a percentage of the sales price as the rightfull heirs just sold it at Christies last week.

Enough of similar trash find stories on PBS' Antique Roadshow as well that might give one cause to stop now and then without any hesitation!

Amy said...

I saw that for the first time this year out in MN, where I'm at. It was a few months ago, but I was driving around and saw some pretty fantastic things from an old piano which looked alright, except for some pretty deep scratches to furniture that was simply old and ugly, but in relatively good condition. It's the poor college students' dream!

Lioncloud said...

Next year you will have many things so stained by baby vomit (or worse), that they will be unusable for a normal human being. Perfect for Redneck Christmas!

Anonymous said...

this is one of my favorite times of year where I live. I have gotten several "great" finds, the things people throw away, you know the saying, "On man's trash is another man's treasure"

blueskitten said...

Oh my, the human brain does strange things. I read your last sentence the first time as "I'm pretty sure there's a throw-up-stained rug in the attic."

EEEEWWW...

Anonymous said...

I wish you had taken some photos of the event. :)

kristin said...

One person's trash is another person's treasure :) I sure wish my trash company did that but they won't as it's a privately owned company. But I have a old desk I really need to get rid of ....

Ray said...

"Redneck Christmas" << You are too funny Kelly! =)

And don't feel bad for being left out, that's one situation where you wish to be left out on. Having a house for of cluttered crap is no fun! I should know, hehe. That's why I promise myself when I get my own place, it's going to be clutter free and look just as nice like that.

Also I don't think that you'd ever have a house as cluttered as those people's homes that you just described. You seem very together, and I don't think you're one to buy junk. It seems that everything you buy has a purpose and is of some-what importance. Not just something you buy because it was on sale and you have absolutely no idea what to do with it. Which is a good thing.

Well, take care.

Janice said...

haha we do that here too, but it's called Unlimited Pick-Up. A lot of people do the same things and I'm sad to say at 19 I have a few things to contribute :) My suite is filled with random oddities. :) That sounds funny though!

Erin in Scranton said...

True story: When I still lived in Bellefonte, I was taking out a broken lamp and some old cardboard boxes out for the same type of trash pickup day. While piling the stuff at the curb, I spied my neighbors (with whom I split a duplex) getting rid of a glass and metal coffee table.

They see me looking at it and say "Oh, do you want this." Embarassed, I said no. Then I set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. to snag it from the trash pile.

I still have it -- right now it's on the front porch supporting my herb plants.

Anonymous said...

One of my co-workers had a baby-related trash-day incident:

Turns out his 1-year-old had a bout of diarrhea and "exploded" all over a really nice, large rug in the living room (see what you and Jerry have to look forward to?). The rug was a total loss, so they rolled it up, tied it with rope and threw it on the curb.

The next morning, the rug was gone -- taken by trash scavengers. My co-worker said he was waiting for it to come back, tossed through a window or something, by the people who took it.

Anonymous said...

I used to live at a big apartment complex that had dumpsters. Every week we would see thee same two trucks going through each one. At first I was worried about identity theft, but the landlords said they did it to make money selling the stuff at a flea market. When I moved I had to get rid of some large pieces of 'well used' furniture. Instead of moving it, I just put it beside the dumpster and sure enough, the next day, it was all gone. It's amazing what people will dig out of the trash.

Kristin said...

That's interesting. Maybe all towns should have that. Sounds like a good way to get rid of stuff, lol.

-KrIsTiN-

Anonymous said...

When you cannot afford couches etc and so on you have to make do with this kind of thing. Even if it means they make fun of me. I can't help it. Would rather food than a new counch...