Monday, June 11, 2007

Material Girl

How did I wind up with this many shoes? I HATE shoe shopping.

Since this photo was taken, I've given away two pairs of shoes and dug another pair out from under my bed. Oh my!

The college I attend is mostly populated by upper-upper-middle class kids. This has lots of "interesting" effects on the campus, but during move-out week the campus make-up makes life fun for the determined young woman with no shame. Dumpster-diving season is open!

My friends and I did three nights in a row of diving or, rather, skimming (unless something really good is peeking through). I've now got gaming chairs for my little brother. A dish chair and ottoman for myself. Luggage -- nice luggage (and a brilliant child left her monogrammed trinket box and visa card in the luggage -- those have been turned into the appropriate authorities for return). A laptop bag. A groovy floor lamp. An awesome wine crate that will be housing DVDs. Clothing -- gap jeans and some t-shirts. Two pillows (one Ralph Lauren, I didn't even know Ralph Lauren made pillows, but it's very squishy). A rain-coat. And a restocked snack pantry, cause I'm not passing up an unopened box of granola bars. :)

We have rules. The piles made for a charity collection can't be touched, when in doubt leave it etc. We started carrying things that were good, particularly clothing that wasn't our size or things like ironing boards that we didn't have a use for to the charity piles rather than leaving it in the trash. Dumpster diving entails a lot of marvelling at just what people throw away and at their laziness at not taking things to the collection points. Of course, we were profiting from both character flaws.

One thing I like about living in Memphis is that it throws activities like dumpster diving into sharp relief. None of us have to scavenge through upper-class trash, either on move-out or at thrift stores for clothing, furniture, and granola bars, but pretty much as soon as we leave campus we're reminded of how many people in Memphis do have to scavenge and rely on charity just to get by. The contrast is overwhelming at times. You have college students throwing out 75 dollar pillows, pieces of furniture, boxes of clothing, textbooks that cost 50-100 dollars each, and then just outside there's a homeless man or woman selling the Commercial Appeal at intersections and just down the street there are apartment complexes where I wouldn't doubt there are whole families who have less food in there apartment than I do in my dorm room. I'm fortunate.

I like Memphis, cause Memphis doesn't let anyone escape into some bubble of middle class comfort.

No comments: