There Must Be Some Magic in That Old Trash Can They Found

30 Apr

April 30, 2010

So what could be so important that you’d go diving into a funky, rancid garbage can? Retrieve a lost mortgage payment? Rescue an abandoned baby? Japanese game show contest? Or maybe you’re just weird.

I was at the gas station today. Gas is back up to about $3 so I was wondering if I should fill it up or just stuff my wallet in the tank and see what happens. Well, I finally decided to gas up the car the traditional way, but I must be stupid because here I was, pumping gas like you regular schnooks, when I should have been rummaging around in the squalid garbage cans. (“Squalid.” Nice word, huh? I thank Douglas Adams for that word.)

There is a garbage can at either end of the gas island where I pulled up, and as I got out of the car I saw an old woman poking one of them with a long stick. (BTW- I once saw an old man poking an umbrella into a sewer during a flood, and I never found out why, though he eventually walked away and left the umbrella sticking out of the grate. ah, childhood memories. I was a strange kid.)

This woman was Chinese, anywhere from 65 to 165 years old and well dressed, with a fancy purple and gold sweater with some sort of lilies and chickens pattern, gold earrings, and think black motorcycle gloves like The Undertaker used to wear. Really, she over-accessorized. The gloves were just gauche. She was hunched over a short, thin garbage can and was furiously poking a tree branch up and down in the can, like she was trying to kill a possum.

I didn’t know what was going on. She was too well dressed to be looking for deposit cans, I thought, and anyway, these garbage cans are usually just full of empty bottles of STP or motor oil, maybe some greasy rags. (They are a fire waiting to spontaneously happen, just inches from the gas pumps. Feel safe now? Think about that when you gas up in the summer heat.) She was also carrying some plastic bags which seemed to hold nothing but square sheets of wax paper.

Eventually she gave up on the left-side can and went to the right-side can.

She hunched down over it.

I watched in extreme anticipation.

She peeked in.

Poke poke poke poke poke poke poke with the stick.

Peek.

Poke poke poke.

Peek.

I was still fueling up but I couldn’t stop watching. What was this mental case doing?

Ever ride on the highway and see a car accident on the other side? If you ride the Belt Parkway you see it every ten minutes. And what is with all the construction from Marine Park to Starrett anyway? Ugh. But as I was saying, there is an accident on the other side of the road and everyone slows down and rubbernecks (Frank Rizzo!) and soon the traffic is backed up on the SI Expressway and you’re late for an appointment and your boss is going to ream you out and you just know that – but I digress. Anyway, watching that crazy old trash-diving woman was like that. I had to watch. I was entranced. (I had time on my hands.)

 Good thing too, as soon she reached inside her sweater, around the breastical area, rummaged around, (it was oddly disgusting) and pulled out……

-just what you’d think; a large, glistening, stainless steel two-pronged steak fork, like from a barbeque set. It was about 18 inches long and beautifully clean. To see it you’d never know it spent all its life inside garbage cans and between the woman’s floppy bazooms.

She started using the fork to pierce various things out of the can (this can held more coffee cups than I would have guessed) and put them back in the can. Whatever she was on the hunt for, she was very specific about it. For example, she’d pick up and put back a sheet of snotty newspaper, yet put a seemingly identical piece of snotty newspaper between two pieces of wax paper in one of her plastic bags. It seemed to be one trash treasure per plastic bag.

By now my tank was full and I was just standing there, blatantly staring at her with an expression equal parts disgust and wonderment.

Eventually she straightened up, wiped the fork clean with a wet-nap she took out of her, er, let me just describe it and leave it to you: She reached inside her pants and pulled it out of her crotch.

Then she left the station, crossed against the light, and almost got hit by a bread truck.

I tossed some trash from my backseat (including, but not limited to, a Snapple bottle and an old Marketeer) and drove off.

What the Hell was she doing????

One Response to “There Must Be Some Magic in That Old Trash Can They Found”

  1. Jim May 8, 2010 at 10:57 pm #

    The fact that we’ll never know what she was looking for bothers me, but not as much as where she keeps her wet naps.

    Like

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