Posts Tagged ‘Lawyers’

The Benefits of Dumpster Diving

March 7, 2017

 

 

the-system-was-never-broken-it-was-built-this-wayThis form of saving the world’s economy  and ecology while making a living at the same time is becoming increasingly popular.  It is Dumpster diving!

In its crudest form it is saving and re-using stuff that gets thrown out in dumpsters or  on the streets.  In Europe this has caught on enormously and gaining momentum as we speak. Well-dressed former business people and unemployed accountants are seen diving dumpsters. In Australia this dumping of superfluous goods is most noticeable during Shire-Council collection days. The much loved grassy bits in front of our suburban houses are temporarily surrendered and given over to our unwanted goods by those living adjacent to those grass strips, euphemistically called ‘nature strip.’  Dogs love them too.

Years ago, this dumping had already started in Balmain. We lived in Balmain till 1996. In the nineties this inner city working class suburb was starting to morph into respectability. Endless jackhammering and expensive renovations were normal. Television personalities were moving in with expert lawyers.  Nervous estate agents roaming the streets looking for juicy deals. I rescued a fridge and  TV. After dragging them home ,  I switched them on and they worked. I was baffled. Who would throw things out that were working?

That was just the beginning.

I have since rescued many unloved items, including a box full of TV antennas. Who would throw out TV antennas? Were they stolen? While I have no qualms about dragging some goods home or scanning charity shops for fashion items, I have yet to rescue discarded culinary delights. I have looked but not yet partaken. Next time when you are near any food outlets, go and look inside food-bins that are close by fast food outlets. It leaves me wondering if people sometimes buy take-away without feeling hungry. A few weeks ago I had a look inside a bin near a Domino Pizza place. It had a pizza still in the box with just one bite taken out. It appeared to be a meat-lover pizza as it had different kinds of sausage, salami and a slurry, perhaps a mince meat mixture. There was nothing wrong with it and still fresh. I am sure those bins get emptied each day. I wasn’t hungry, but even so… a nice slice of salami?

From living frugally with ‘waste not wont not’ still ringing in our ears from early parental upbringing, it stood the times. My parents ultimate disapproval would be reserved for those wasting food. During the war we would delight in scarce potato peelings soup dinners, dancing around the table. My parents never let up telling us how food was so scarce during the war. Over-fed toddlers now get Dr Seuss bed-time stories told. War kids got soup kitchen adventures and potato-skin soup stories re-told shivering under newspaper-made blankets.. Even now, I don’t peel potatoes and we scuff the lot instead. If plastic spoons and forks had been available during those times, I am sure they would got eaten. We never throw out food. If the bread gets mouldy we toast or,  if green, put it to the worms. We are both united in this, and leftovers never wasted.

Diving in Dumpsters is now not just for derelicts or vagabonds. It has become popular by entrepreneurial people who make a living from passing on and selling what they can scour out of bins. They are to be seen early in the mornings. Some take buckets with them. The more organized have trolleys. The economic downturns and lack of adequate welfare wakens survival instincts and this industry has sprung up as a result.

There are those that predict dire economic results from the frugality phenomenon now sweeping the world. Apparently the economy depends on us spending what we don’t have. Australia is badly situated with our private debt being one of the largest in the world.  An increase in interest rates or a downturn in real estate could easily spin out of control very quickly.  On the other hand to keep spending what we don’t have is just as loopy.

The Domino discarded food in bins might yet come in handy.

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The Plight of the Sunday Mirror Girls and Real Estate Agents.

August 25, 2016
Me and mother 1995?

Me and mother 1995?

Estate agents are not far behind car-salesmen in the popularity range of professions. Even joining the army or becoming a police man are judged far above them. In the fifties, teaching was also a somewhat dodgy profession to pursue. It makes me wonder whether that might be the reason that our school kids don’t seem to be doing all that well. Apparently 45% of adults in Australia do not possess proficient spelling and math skills. But, if someone studied law, (even for those within the 45% semi-literate range)the prestige barometer would run red-hot. I noticed that amongst our elderly neighbours’ granddaughters, some are doing a university degree in ‘design.’

If job security is important I reckon, estate agents and car salesmen will probably be better placed than lawyers or designers. Australia has one of the highest rates per capita of lawyers in the world, and as for design, the Ikea flat pack with Allan key has taken care of that. Many are out of work and even barristers are scrimping around trying to make a quid. It’s in science and engineering that the future beckons and holds the best prospects.

Selling cars or houses does depend on smoothness and swiftness in seizing up the customer. If the pitch is overly keen, it might make the buyer a bit reluctant. There is the tendency of many people to go against a proposal if put too strongly. Lately Helvi and I are back ‘in the market’ as the parlance go, looking at houses. Even if just to spend time away from our own house. I like looking through other peoples houses. I quickly scan the bookshelves. Of course, bookshelves are not guaranteed.

Back in the fifties, my poor dad used to try and see through neighbours windows, hungry for sighting books. They were very rare. The best, in those years was a horse-betting guide or a real estate section resting seductively on top of little tables. In our house, my mother used to put The Catholic Weekly on top of any reading material. She held hope that we all would go through out teens wholly beholden by men of the cloth. We soon saw through their voodoo tricks. How can anyone take to walking on water and virgin births?

One of my friends remarked; ‘why do your newspapers have all those holes in them? I admitted, ‘because my mum cuts out all the provocative pictures of girls.’ Those photos used to be displayed in Australian Newspapers, especially the afternoon papers. The same papers also used to have screaming headlines with ‘SHOCK SEX’, or a whole page with just one three letter word ‘WAR.’ My mum thought she could save her family, possibly including her husband, from filth and decadence perving on grainy images of swim suit wearing girls.

As soon as we hit the car driving range we would pretend to go to church on Sunday. We all sat inside my old V8 Ford single spinner outside the church. We would take turns in getting snippets of the main sermon before getting back in the V8 and continue the perve on the Sunday Mirror paper girls, before we presented them home for mother to get her scissors out for. It is an endearing image I still treasure.

My mum was brought up together with her sister in an orphanage. She lost both her parents when very young. The orphanage was run by nuns in Amsterdam. As a child she took me to this orphanage and introduced me to some very old nuns who were still alive from the time she was a little girl. The orphanage was stone-cold with marble stairs. Her sister was there too, but strictness by the nuns separated them. She was forbidden to have contact with her. Her sister was my dear Aunt Agnes.

I surmised she must have got her staunch religious beliefs from that period. Her cutting images from newspapers that might invite her sons into carnal pleasures might well have been her intention to save us, and for that I have respect and my love. Of course, she failed, but that is a different matter. Apart from the cutting pictures she was also the eternally undefeatable worker and optimist.

A really great mother.

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