Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Question of The Day, 63:

Do you agree with me that there is a difference between garbage and a garage sale?

A house up the block recently sold, and the old owners are moving out, or the new owners are moving in, or something. It's resulted in there being a large pile of housewares at the end of that driveway.

These housewares aren't stacked neatly or next to a "Sale" sign or set out on the driveway or anything. They're in a pile where the garbage cans ordinarily go, a jumbled hodgepodge of things that the homeowner didn't want.

And yet... people have been going by that pile and taking stuff, just taking it and presumably putting it into their houses. Yesterday, our across-the-street neighbor, The Professor, walked up there (Sweetie said) and picked out a metal cat-statue and took it home.

Here's my problem with that: it's garbage. There is a difference, to me, between "Rummage Sale" and "Trash Picking," and the latter is completely and totally unacceptable in society.

If I take all the stuff I don't want anymore, and put it in my driveway next to a "Rummage Sale" sign, then the message I'm sending you is: I don't want this stuff anymore, but I think it's still good and YOU might want it.

But if I take all that same stuff and just set it out at the end of the driveway next to the empty pizza boxes and dirty diapers, the message I'm sending is: I think this stuff is all equally devoid of value and so I am simply getting rid of it.

So it's okay for you to buy my old work shirts for a quarter. It's not okay for you to take them out of my garbage can and wear them. There's a difference -- a slight-but-definitely-existing difference -- between used and trash.

Based on my neighbors' actions -- just willy-nilly gathering up trash to put in their houses, I'm going to say this: I will no longer worry about how my yard looks. If anyone complains, I'm just going to say "Well, you have garbage in your house."

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