Monday, August 31, 2009

And my bathroom's blue.

Moving in Boston is very strange business. Word on the street is that 1/3 of the state moves on Sept 1st, and judging by what it's been like the last few days, another third moved over the weekend. Think narrow streets clogged with moving trucks, sweaty college students hauling boxes and lamps and sometimes chairs and bookcases and couches (!) across busy intersections, and mounds of castoffs lining the sidewalks.

Tonight I was introduced to another piece of moving culture when I noticed women pushing carts and strollers down the sidewalks, digging through the mounds of garbage and claiming what looked good. It's like grown up trick or treating.

While I was moving the last load out to the car, a little girl in a stroller kept shouting "bangBANGbang" and shooting me with a toy gun her mother plucked out for her. When I saw them a little later, she had big hulk gloves on--you know the ones I mean? So I guess it's sort of kids trick or treating, too.

But that's not why I'm posting; It's not why I've paused the mad dash to get out of this place (shhh--don't tell sam) and type out a few paragraphs. The real reason is the woman I met just now, who was driving by in her motorized wheelchair. As I struggled to put a big box in the front seat, she said, "This your trash?"

"Yeah."

"You know what this is?" She holds up a plastic grocery sack that could only be the hefty bag of cat litter I'd just collected.

"Um."

"It feels too heavy to be trash."

"Um, well. I think it might be cat litter."

She drops it. "Well, did the cats get on any of these linens?"

"I don't think so. Just with their fur."

Struggle struggle strruuuuggle. I begin to think the box is too big.

She pulls out a thing to cushion your lap when you use a laptop with a flat surface to rest it, and asks me what it is. I explain and she decides to take that, too. She says her sister has a computer. She's so excited about that. I feel awkward with my car full of framed prints and my ironing board and my books, but she doesn't seem phased at all. She asks me if there's anythinge else she might like in another box, and I think for a moment, tell her there's a scale in there.

She says, "Oh no, honey. I'm a big lady. I ain't got no use for a scale."

For some reason this is making me feel really bad, like I wish I had more for her. I pick up a plunger that's fallen out of a box. It's a big blue plastic one that we found in the basement. Sam said he wanted to toss it, wanted to get a new one he'd feel comfortable licking if he had to.

I say, "How about a plunger?"

Her eyes light up. "I don't even have a plunger!"

"Well, here you are then." And I hand it to her over the boxes.

"And my bathroom's blue!" She says.

I go inside to get my figs out of the fridge. I feel like I've done a good deed. A very strange, good deed.

9 comments:

Tia and Amara said...

I can't BELIEVE you offered her the scale! Aren't you a woman? Don't you know that would sure to be a bad idea? But then a plunger... wonder what subliminal message she could pull from that?

eden said...

that's a lovely story. really. i'm sure you made her day. (:

Josh Ruddick said...

You could paint your bathroom blue. We have a yellow one. When we lived in Sacramento we had a red one. Blue could be cool and soothing.

Lee said...

I love her and her half full glass.
-kira

Emily said...

Oh the trash-picking. It's like an art form here. My husband gets in on it too. Do people come around collecting soda and beer cans, too?

belann said...

I think you did do a nice thing. But, I'm not sure you will find a plunger that Sam will lick--at least more than once.

Gavin & Erin said...

Reminds me of the swivel chairs that my companion and I got from our apartment complex dumpster. We washed the seat covers and Fabreezed the heck out of them and they were great. One man's trash is another man's plunger...?

Terry Earley said...

Hard to top those comments. Here, I was able to make my old lawnmower disappear in a couple of hours by putting it on the curb. 2 guys came by and caught me outside and asked what was wrong with it. --they took it anyway.

Glad you could suggest something she was tickled with.

Bryson and Tara said...

I so enjoyed reading this, Deja! You have such interesting experiences everyday, and I love reading about them!