One thing I’ve noticed in Toronto that’s not replicated back home is people putting free unwanted things out the front of their house. Passersby are welcome to take these things back to a loving home. I’ve seen any number of old couches and mattresses (matri?) that were likely bedbug ridden. I’ve also picked up a bunch of things myself. They don’t always work out for the best, but occasionally I find something new to enrich my life. I found a microwave once. It was pretty heavy, but as our home was lacking in radioactive devices I lugged it back on my shoulder. Plugged the thing in and turned in on. It hummed away pleasantly and I was chuffed beyond belief. Put some frozen chicken in to warm it up and pow, it came out frozen. I guess its inability to heat was the reason it was tidily presented for the taking on someone’s lawn. There was a keyboard (computer, not chopsticks style) that turned out to have sticky keys (as in they got stuck, that was not a seminal joke. Get your mind out of the gutter. Which was close to where I found the keyboard), so that one went straight out the front of our place for some other poor schmuck to pick up. A kettle joined the ranks of faulty devices that auditioned for our very own Kitchen Idol. As with all the other wannabe appliances I gave it scathing criticism before unceremoniously tossing it out on the front lawn. Joke’s on me though, inanimate objects don’t feel shame.
It’s not all Bad News Bears though. I’ve picked up one or two things that’ve found a place in my life. The first was a stack of plastic drawers just sitting out on the kerb. They’re not flashy, but I’ve packed them to bursting with essential components for couchforts and disposing of corpses. Wait, did I say corpses? I meant… copses. I like to wrap excess trees in sheets for disposal. *Wheuf*, nice save man. I walked past a place last night and saw a bunch of kid’s stuff on the curb. The family was still in the process of dragging things out so I asked them if it was up for grabs. Affirmative, they said (actually, the kids looked at me like I was a weird stranger asking if I could have their old toys. Fair enough. I asked them if they could talk to their parents and see if they minded if I rifled through it. Sure enough, I was free to fossick away. Things I was tempted to grab:
- A Lego Minotaurus game.
- A clip together T-Rex skeleton
- Some Boggle variant
- Clue Jr
- Pokémon Master Trainer
- A large wheeled toy basket.
But given my limited carrying capacity (which would’ve been extended with a toy basket) and large distance to cover I opted to just grab a sealed copy of Anomia, which is a great game I’ve played before. Totally a bonus from a day that marched to the beat of its own drum.
As a vulture of sorts, I’m always on the lookout for free things. There’s a house around the corner from me that keeps putting out baby related things. For some reason (because I’m an awful person) my initial thought each time reflects some notion of infant mortality. Blame Lullaby (wow, today is getting link heavy). Seriously, they put out a stroller, a high chair and a large fluffy bear. Wouldn’t you think that their child had passed away in some tragic mishap? Maybe I’ve just seen too many traumatic movies (and I guess this is the wrong thing to be bringing up when I’m on the cusp of becoming an uncle) and my pessimism engram (as a scientologist (fuck you Google Dictionary, scientology doesn’t deserve a capital letter) would say).
It’s a cool service provided by the people of Toronto. I know we’ve thrown out a bunch of clothes, baskets, pots and pans. It’s like the inorganic collections back home, but all year round. If someone else could actively use the stuff we’re jettisoning, why not throw a smile into their day? It’s a mutually beneficial engagement, much like some hookworms. Keep it up Toronto. If only so I have another excuse to use the plural “passersby”.