Waste not, want more

No variations on a theme.

Putting the Freak in Freecycle – a Halloween special

I’ve written some about a lack of focus and motivation. It should come as no surprise that when I got a freecycle email at 10pm on a Wednesday announcing that a working stand up lamp is out on the street a few blocks away, I jumped in my car (thinking this time it might be smart not to attempt a retrieval by bike. I am, after all, still recovering from the superman incident).

I drove along the darkly lit street feeling like a desperate junk collector looking to score. I was sure that people were hiding behind their curtains and blinds, writing down license plate numbers, repeating inaccurate descriptions of me and Forest in their heads should the police come knocking tomorrow. I was jittery with the thrill of the chase. In the dark, I looked longingly for 947… or a lamp parked inconspicuously at the curb … 901, 907, 923 …. The anticipation was building as well as the sense that I should be prepared for disappointment. You’ve been scooped before, Rose, it could happen again. I cursed myself for not wearing running shoes and a headlamp. … 927, 931…

Then lo and behold, from the corner of my eye, I spotted it standing tall but oddly embarrassed in the shadow of the streetlamp’s glaring light. Thar she blows! The little freebee was feeling emasculated under all that towering city light glory. It may have perked up a little as I approached, but things go fuzzy for me after 9, so maybe not.

I parked, pulled the secret seat hatch that gives me alternative access to the trunk, and left the car running, which is strange for me. I had gone from feeling like hunter to hunted. What if someone came from behind a tree with a bat, growling “Myyy laahhmp!” Thud. Probably a camera or two with crimestoppers on speed dial. At the very least, there were ghostly forms watching stealthily from keyholes and attic windows. A gate creaked eerily in the distance.

Despite all this paranoia, I took a moment to inspect the lamp, pretending to be picky, pretending I could see anything in the dark. I stumbled on a neutral grey yoga mat looking clean, unbuggy and tidily rolled. Why not? I slunk back to the car with the lamp in one hand and the mat in the other, working on not tripping over the cord, dropping the lamp, or unfurling the yoga carpet, more convinced than ever that someone was dialing 911 right at this moment to report a robbery. I hoped that the arresting officer would not cause permanent damage.

Back at the car, in the trusty light of the trunk the mat become substantially more lavender, not exactly my colour of choice. It did however remain free and unbuggy. It would also allow me to have one at home and one at the studio. Lavender shmavender. The lamp too came with a little surprise, about as much dust as anything in my home has on any given day. I wondered temporarily if other people’s dust was grosser than mine before wondering no more and popping it into the car. And by pop I mean struggle. I jiggled, I eased. I did not need the extra space afforded by the secret seat hatch. I am now one of those Darwin Award winning criminals you read about and snicker.

I jumped into the getaway car, sure that all the tires would deflate driving over getaway car foiling spike strips, waiting for the hiss. Only as I got a few blocks away, safely nestled into my parking garage, did my racing heart begin to slow. Just another non-adventure turned into excitement.

And the lamp? It only leans mildly to the left. Though occasionally it breathes, which is creepy.


October 31, 2011 - Posted by | Free and cheap things, Travel and intrigue, Waste | , , , ,


  1. Love it, Rose. I am famous for scavenging along the road, in dumpsters–making treasure from other people’s trash. As such, I champion your effort–your still leaning to the left lamp–unbuggy dust and all. Congrats on seeing the light, so to speak. And Happy Halloween!

    Comment by Kathryn McCullough | October 31, 2011 | Reply

    • It’s so silly of me to have that reaction to something that I was actually invited to take… . Often I find the item is of no more value to me and I end up passing it along, but sometimes it becomes a staple item. I haven’t made beautiful art with any of my finds though.

      Comment by Rose | October 31, 2011 | Reply

  2. Spooky score! Thank goodness for unbuggyness. And to answer your question: yes, other people’s dust IS more gross than your own dust. 🙂

    Comment by Dana | October 31, 2011 | Reply

    • dammit!

      Comment by Rose | October 31, 2011 | Reply

  3. HAHAHAHHAHA… MY GOD you make me laugh. I love your adventurous side.. so thrifty.

    Comment by Katie Chipman | November 2, 2011 | Reply

  4. […] my inner burn to recycle, reuse, avoid buying, and decrease the flow of stuff to the place that stuff goes to die, it may come as […]

    Pingback by The Wedding Dress that Keeps on Giving « Waste not, want more | November 26, 2011 | Reply

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