Trash pickin'

Sunday morning at 11:30, Cindy picked me up in front of my building in a white rented Chevy Impala. She gave up her dying Acura a couple months back and has been living without a car ever since. Every six weeks or so, she’ll rent a car for the weekend in order to do all the big errands that need to be done. Philly Car Share and Septa fill the rest of her transportation gaps. Normally I’m the one picking her up, so it was a treat to be the passenger for the moment.

She slowly pulled up to the curb and I hopped in. It was a minor relief to connect with her, as I had watched her pass me about five minutes earlier, the chaos of Center City traffic had temporarily distracted her and she missed me on the first go round.

After a brief stop at the South Philly Target, we headed for the Italian Market for brunch. We parked in the municipal lot on Christian between 7th and 8th and headed over to see what the line at Sabrina’s looked like. Just outside the parking lot, in the middle of the sidewalk was a teal colored dish towel. As we walked by it, I noticed that it matched exactly a dish towel that I own. I slowed down and looked at it with purpose and a desire to possess. Cindy kept walking, thoroughly repulsed by the idea that I might pick up a stranger’s dirty, wet dish towel. I caught up with her, but then seconds later bent down to pick a penny off the sidewalk.

“Will you please stop picking things up off the ground for awhile?!” She asked, equal parts serious and kidding.

Being the unusual person that I am, I kept thinking about the towel all during our brunch (which we ate at the Butcher’s Cafe since we were starving and the line at Sabrina’s was an hour long). As we wrapped up our meal, I said, “If that towel is still there when we head back, I’m going to pick it up and take it home. It’s just too bad I did a load of towels yesterday.”

The towel was still there (because it takes a true scavenger to pick up a dirty, wet rag up off the sidewalk and there just aren’t that many of us out there) and so it became mine. Cindy looked at me with equal parts resignation and humor in her eyes and opened the trunk so that it wouldn’t get to close to her on the ride back to my place.

It came out of the washing machine just a little while ago, and it looks nicer and is in better shape than the one I already had. No one would ever know that it had been abandoned on the street. I do love a good find.

0 thoughts on “Trash pickin'

  1. craige

    I have found many a fantastic item on the street (bookshelves, desks, pots & pans, purses, Backgammon, etc.), but after we got bedbugs, I unfortunately have been forbidden from bringing anything else in. Kills me!

  2. Suzanne

    I love it! In Boston in grad school, I would walk the alleys of the Back Bay on the eve of trash day. (My friend Erica called me Trashpicker.) I got a nice chair, bookshelf and filing cabinet that way. In fact, yesterday at the bus stop here in S.F., someone had abandoned boxes full of plates and toys, and I found a very cute plastic “S” with a Snuffleupagus on it. — Signed, a fellow trashpicker


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