Archives for May 2011

Monday Dare: Who would dig through a dumpster? Me, actually.

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Do, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help, and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made before The Project started, and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”
This week: Go Dumpster Diving. 

Sometimes, my curiosity leads to good things. Once, I got curious about the profoundly disturbing smell in my refrigerator. Turns out, it was an old Taco Bell burrito. A hard and ugly Taco Bell burrito with mold. I cleared that toxic mess out of my fridge, did a little scrub, and Bam! back to freshness.

Other times, my curiosity makes me sign up for things that sound like a fan-tiddly-tastic idea at first, but as the day draws near, I want to run away, change my name to Poot-Poot, and assume another life as a coffin salesperson to avoid the commitment I’ve made.

This week is not one of those times I want to change my identity and bolt. I’m excited…a little too much, maybe.

Since giving up shopping, I’ve been curious about not only what people buy, but also what people choose to throw away. At one point, someone thought those items were worthy enough to spend hard-earned money to purchase. Then, they chuck it. Why?

My friend, Luke, proudly displays a coffee table in his living room he discovered by a dumpster while out walking his dog. It’s perfect, no dings or cracks anywhere. Maybe the former owner couldn’t look at the silver knobs a minute longer? Maybe it was gift from a former lover who ended up stealing all of his DVDs, and the table was a reminder of the betrayal? Every time I visit Luke, I come up with a different possibility. I can’t help but wonder why someone would throw it away.

I’ve never been dumpster diving, so I’m a little nervous. My friend, Jennifer, has graciously offered to be my Dumpster Diving Guide. She’s even promised to hose me down in her front yard afterwards. Jennifer, you are a gem.

I’ll fill you in next week about our adventure. We’re donating any finds in good, working condition to a local charity.
Has a friend ever dared you to do something…unusual. Did you do it?
Have you ever found any interesting discards? Did you take it home?

image via

This ain’t Wal-Mart.

I’m pretty sure my parents fed, clothed, and gave me shelter as a kid just to make sure I was fit and able to work as free labor. When I was 10, my mom opened a costume jewelry shop in a swap meet. Her little store, part of a larger outfit named Community Mart (their slogan: “Bringing the Community Together“) sat in a seedy part of town, infested with gang violence and questionable fashion choices.

I worked as the stock girl. Sometimes, I served as the security detail, patrolling the perimeter of her store with my hands behind my back, making sure no one snuck a $1 nail polish into their pocket. I must have been intimidating-a 4’6” fanny-pack-clad 10-year-old, ready to put the smack down on any thief.

I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do if I did catch a thief in the act, and no one schooled me on the basics of a smack down, so really, I was just hoping every customer was on their best behavior. That way, I could do a half-hearted job and still walk away with a brand-new My Little Pony at the end of the week.

Then, Shirley walked in. There’s a high likelihood Shirley wasn’t her name, but it sounds like a hardened criminal’s name to me. Let’s just roll with it.

I caught Shirley sneaking an $18 watch into her purse. I tapped her lightly on the arm.

Me: Ma’am, I think you forgot to pay for that watch.

Shirley: (laughing a little) Oh honey, I was just putting it in my purse so I could have two free hands to look around.

Me: Maybe I could take it up to the counter for you?

Shirley: Sure, honey. How much is it?

Me: $18

Shirley: $18?!? This ain’t Wal-Mart. You can’t charge that kind of price.

She walked out of the store, muttering something about highway robbery. I can’t be sure though. I was too busy congratulating myself on being a hero.

My mom, busy in the back pricing handbags, missed the whole thing. She just patted me on the head when I told her. I think that was her way of telling me I was a bad-ass.
Did your folks put you to work or make you do crazy chores?
Or, did you take on odd jobs for pocket money?