Whoever coined the phrase “there is no free lunch” was wrong. From Valleycliffe to Brackendale, from Dentville to the Garibaldi Highlands, and beyond, there are handouts to be had.
We’re not referring to actual meals here, folks. What this is all about is a motley selection of curbside contributions bearing the hastily penned caption “Free.”
In fact, if someone was so inclined, it would be possible to furnish an apartment, if not an entire house, with discards available adjacent to our thoroughfares and in local ravines. Stuff that has passed its best-before date in one household can get a new lease on life elsewhere.
One of the most interesting exhibits was a complete toilet unit and a dishwasher deposited side-by-side in front of a home in Brackendale last summer. If Vegas bookies had been consulted, the dishwasher would likely be given the best chance of being carted away in a hurry, while the humble sanitation fixture was destined to get little action.
As it turned out, the oddsmakers would have been wrong. The dishwasher sat baking in the July sun for the better part of a week while its lowly roadside partner was scooped up in short order. As they say, one family’s junk is another family’s treasure.
Appliances of every description, bookshelves, bed units including mattresses and box springs, are favourite public offerings. When thinner TVs made their appearance a few years ago, battalions of perfectly functional, albeit bulky, cathode ray tubes were transferred from local living rooms to recycling centres and the streets. Many were pushed out the door and dumped on the curb after nightfall, like some underworld settling of accounts. There was a time, in what amounted to a tsunami of rejection, when Nordic Track cross country ski exercise machines were no longer in fashion. As it turned out, they were less user friendly than treadmills, or elliptical trainers, and were consigned to garage sales, landfills and roadsides. Ab machines of every description suffered the same fate. Who wants a flat belly when you have to bust your butt to get it, eh?
Now and then, a love seat appears as a testimony to the sudden souring of an amicable relationship. But tired sofas are frequent additions to the pantheon of civic detritus.
It all brings to mind a quip from American satirist and political commentator Bill Maher about abandoned upholstered household seating appliances and their relationship with a community’s canine population. He challenged residents to “stop leaving couches on the sidewalk. Besides being lazy and ugly, it’s animal cruelty. You teach your dog not to pee on the couch, and then when you take him to the place he’s supposed to pee, there’s a couch.”