Stray Shopping Cart

By timbrauhn under creative commons on flickr.

There was a time, early in my dumpster diving and scavenging career when I clung to the notion that somehow, some way, I would have a lot of money, and things would be wonderful. By scavenging, I mean this in the truest sense. There was a Labor Ready close by, but the place was always packed, and if you were not a connected regular worker, days could pass without work and so, I looked for coins in the street. One coin leads to almost always another nearby. Fast-food drive through windows were the best places to search for breeding loose change.

My feet hurt all the time. There is no real place to sit in any given urban area. It can take all day to put a meal together because this place that has this thing for these few cents can be very far from that one. Sometimes I would sit, on a curb, to rest my feet and study people. Here is what one who fits into society puts into a shopping cart at the grocery.

Weekend shopping carts were the best to watch because people with lives could not only afford to eat, they could also afford to wash clothes. They had dishes and they could wash them. They rushed and rushed, all the time. Groceries, appointments, lessons, kids. Rush, rush, drive and park. Rush in and rush out. In and out the aisles, up and down the stairs, a non-push push here, a little shove there, rush, rush. Everyone had a phone and every call was as if it were the last phone call ever to be placed; everything was important to everyone.

I studied and studied: There is what one wears; Here is what one drives; Here is one who maintains a lawn; There is one who probably has made beds and not just mattresses. Everything matches. There is never, ever less than everything. Everything for the car, everything for the kid, everything matching and complete for everything. I’ll just bet, I would think to myself, that these are some underpants people. One clean pair for each day of the week, I’m certain of it.

I studied and studied, so that someday, when I had a life just like those people, I would be ready. I would know what to buy, and what to wear to buy it, and how to cut my hair and what toothpaste to use for the whitest teeth, what car to be seen in, what gym to be seen at, what detergent for the most gleaming clothes. I could drink with the shopping cart people someday because the ads everywhere assured me I could. Casually not checking the level in my glass, I could drink and be younger and thinner and sexier and funnier, because people who fit into society, of course, don’t have a half gallon of Popov vodka under the kitchen sink, and they are not sitting in a room, in a worn-out recliner, twisting the window shades open and shut just to make sure the passing public is not aware.

I studied and studied, so that someday, when I had a life, the only thing that I would ever be tired from would be my wonderful, lucrative job where I was admired and constantly promoted. I would go out to dinner; go to the park; attend important meetings where I would make important decisions; supervise people and projects, tell people that my schedule was too busy just now, could we do this say, next week; drink designer cups of coffee with all the right people in all the right places; plan more coffee time with more people.

I would have people in my life who would ask, so that I could tell them these things and make these plans.

During my studies, my curb was not always solitary. But it was always anonymous, which was absolutely perfect, because the non-distance distance allowed me to shock, comfort, and then leave the company of wanderering curb dwellers. I could say anything from So how much time did you do this last time, to Boy do I ever remember living on a plane all the time. I could blend. I had no idea how to blend in with the socially acceptable groups I studied, but this was minor. It would come with time, teeth, looks, youth, money, and a home packed with beautiful things and visited by gardeners and housekeepers.

On my curb, I was lower than some and higher than others, and a perfect judge of everyone.

The shopping cart underpants people were a blast to judge: I’ll just bet this one is sleeping with that one and lying about it to this other one and milking this from that one and cooking the books and showing up a little too late and a little too hung over. Well, they kind of made it easy to be supreme judge because they talked about themselves all the time and always loud because I was just a nobody on a curb, who would shut up for that? The lower people were no match for my curb-gavel, I mean, I’ve hit the skids, but at least I’m not walking around the park on the fourth of July asking complete strangers for money.

I did not know any of these people and I judged them all, every last one of them, from my curb courtroom. The court of last resort. I judged the cart people because I wanted to be the cart people. That way, other cart people would like me.

Today, I subsist on what people throw away. I do not have the wonderful job or the money or the possessions that I once wanted and thought I needed. I notice more because I am not in a hurry. For example, where where I live, right on the main road in the middle of town, in a grassy area, are some graves. You can drive by this a thousand times and never even come close to noticing them. I noticed the graves, because I am living and noticing and not just reacting to the latest crisis.

I do not judge people anymore. I am just fine, being who I am, and being poor. It is more than enough.

Bohemianism and its elements.

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Comments
  1. ed nelson says:

    Oh, what a lovely sight… turned over shopping carts… some day those will be “antiques”.

    “you mean grand… maw/paw/transexual/stand’in? (See someday, they won’t even remember that there needed to be a “he” and a “her”, cause that will be… “oh so quaint!.

    Inotherwords… “Oh… GRandPa and Ma and all the other famblly types of iconongraphy… ! Lets me axe a question of: WTF.

    Hope you are thinking of the way your comments can be used and co-opted to be used in that venue… And I hope you know that if you bring in folks to talk, well, might be you are acting sirens/flypaper…

    I don’t see you like that, you’re too real for that crap, but see… that is what it is.

    If you say anything that… might be, ah, well… not too cool with the, ah… (guys that run things), well you get canned.

    Geoshmoe.

    • Thank you, yes I think I see what you are saying here. Mason is already banned from commenting at HuffingtonPost, for life, I think.

      As for me, I often look at folks who are banned and wonder why exactly it happened. I have been mod-noted, and I have had a couple of comments removed at FDL, does not happen very often, but it has happened. One comment was, I thought, so utterly innocuous that I was just baffled. This was around a year ago.

      I have no illusions that I could be canned at any time at one of the larger sites. I try to be careful, and that is pretty easy for me because I generally hate conflict and avoid it. I realize also that folks can rip pieces of comment clips and place them out of context elsewhere- I hope that does not happen much.

      I came in to FDL just around the same time as the thing with Rusty, so I did not know him, but many people were upset by this. Vector and his wife, well, they really helped me with a computer problem that I still have now, and without their help, I would not be typing this.

      Not much you can do, I guess, you know, but I do try to be very careful and hope for the best.

      Rambling here, but thank you so much for visiting this evening!

  2. ed nelson says:

    Oh so sorry if I forgot to add: When that FDL thing, kept dropping out some of my favorite contributors… like… Rusty1776, and there was another real good guy… Vector56, who was also real darned good.!

    These were some of my favorite commentors….

  3. Good morning everyone! Thank you for stopping by and reading, from:
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    Welcome to the site!

  4. ed nelson says:

    Thank you so much for your very thoughtful response/and/reduction, of my comment, Crane.

    I have continued to inbibe alcholol, so that is ok, cause that is right in with what we supposed to do, as that is the drug that is on… “offer”, that is the one we can use, and it is long historic… from time immemorial….

    I am not one that is interested in to make more drugs legal, nor illegal…

    I don’t get that, we as folks… should be free to take a glass of wine… take a toke of pot, take a dose of something, or munch on some mushrooms, and the etc…

    I don’t complain…too much, because I know… (I will feel the complaints…) you deffinatlely pay your dues when… you drinks.

    PS: I also want to say thankyou so much for that fact that you have been really authentic in these past couple of years, in the kernel of what you say. Kernal, to me is: the bottom line, or the nut.

  5. Well, and likewise, thank you, for continuing to read, comment, and share insight and experience. It means a lot to me!

  6. ed nelson says:

    Crane station is a great one. You are an authentic person, and the long list of world countries, many of which are in the north Europe area… Those are the countries where the power was in some senses, but not completey, because some of those countries, were under a power from some other place.

    Take my grandpa… he was an orphan borned in the north to fishing folk.

    His Mother died at his birth… (twins) not to ever know his own mother, but raised by the eldest sister… I was there, I know the story, I went to see it, to know it, I went to see where ole grandpa was from, because, he was a real good longshoreman… and of course before that… venue”, he was one of the Norwegian Navy”… the guys that made the first good union, against the mutherfuckers that were the English shipping monsters, who used and abused.

    The Norskies made a good union, because they did, because they were of a better stripe, (My take, on it!… and what I mean is: those were better folks than you will ever see, in these days.)

    I don’t want to make a course on it right now, but believe me or wtf,

    The best of the best of folks, are in a war with the worst of the worst, and well…. …. THat is my little issue: that we are in a kind of spiritual war, and that really…: we little good persons, are so unaware… so trusting, so unable to come up with some kind of defense, it always reminds me of the horrible movie: the “Time Machine”.

    • Really interesting history. I would love to see some of the docks in Norway someday.

      • ed nelson says:

        I did see some of the “docks” in Norway, was surprised to see guys working on the docks, pretty much like we did in … “Frisco” …(joke… of course… !), but to the point: really the docks back in the Ole country, well, not any different, because the way that things are done on the… “Water front”, that is really international.. it is universal! The Russians were our good pardners too, as when the Russian ships came in, they were good ships, had good gear… the cranes were fast and had good power, we could work on gear like that, real cool!

        I guess what I say is: that back in that day… well maybe there will be another day… too!

        Another day, when the peoples again come up and stand up to the English ship owner’s….
        Like Norway’s orphaned folkes ( those 14 yr olds, gone cabin boys on English ships, ) did back in… the day!

        My gramps, was built like a “fire hydrant” hands about maybe 6 inches across… nice guy, but he had the power, that is no question, just like the metrix strong man thing, a real stong guy.

        I am only telling you this, so you know what I am, where I came from, and some of my frame of reference on things, but I guess the real clincher would be… that I went to the same high school as…

        No…. I will tell that in another deal, have to keep something in reserve…! but no… that f’n school is so f’n full of em… no wonder I didn’t amount to much…. I ain’t too talented…

  7. Labyrinth says:

    > It is more than enough.

    and Enough is as good as a feast.

  8. ed nelson says:

    I don’t think much of somebody who calls their seff: “Labyrinth”, cause either you are a long twisting cave into hell, or you… like that place. Don’t see much of a good conatation… sir/madam.

    • Well, I like the name and the comment. I really believe that Enough is a feast today. Folks are in various stages between having everything to fill the cart and sitting on the curb.

      Yesterday I was directed to this article about poverty. I think I will put it up as a link, on a standalone blog, because everyone should read it. When I did, I realized that I am very fortunate and grateful:

      It is by Jo Goodwin Parker, and it is called, What Is Poverty:

      https://www.msu.edu/~jdowell/135/JGParker.html

  9. ed nelson says:

    /that was imformative/demonstrative… (hey al least… I got a chance to use that wonderfull woid…
    Demonstrative… whatever the hell that means…. ha ha. sometimes I just love to break out and use words… that I don’t even know em’… like back when I was a little stupid idiot in… school… but now… I am a 200lb oldster… and I have a dictionary… and a Strong’s Concordance sitting on the shelf… I really like that thing, which I look into, like twice in a year.

    No I don’t think that was all that humorous… I know.

    bellow a clip from your thing:

    ["I studied and studied, so that someday, when I had a life just like those people, I would be ready. I would know what to buy, and what to wear to buy it, and how to cut my hair and what toothpaste to use for the whitest teeth, what car to be seen in, what gym to be seen at, what detergent for the most gleaming clothes. I could drink with the shopping cart people someday because the ads everywhere assured me I could. Casually not checking the level in my glass, I could drink and be younger and thinner and sexier and funnier, because people who fit into society, of course, don't have a half gallon of Popov vodka under the kitchen sink, and they are not sitting in a room, in a worn-out recliner, twisting the window shades open and shut just to make sure the passing public is not aware."]

    I have seemed to have lost my train of thought on the subject, that won’t stop me from making this comment post… no because… I just want to say hi… say hi…. or what ever…..

    My freind Kathyrine gave me a ride home…. nice girl, she is my friend… I am not completely unaprecieaed… I could still be a…. contenda.. so’s you know…. !

  10. Ireland, hello and welcome to the site!

  11. 4/12/2012 0833 AM Central US Time.

    Good morning and welcome to the site:

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    Very happy and grateful to have you here. Thank you for stopping by!

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