Thursday, May 31, 2012

Work is work

I'm out walking the labyrinth on the church parking lot. On one of my circuits I notice a man pulling some kind of cart. It's piled high with fat, stuffed, black trash bags. He's walking through the park across the street. I'm wondering if this is a cart with all his earthly possessions. That's an awful lot of stuff to haul around the city all day, every day. I resume my labyrinth walk.

Eventually, the circuits of the labyrinth take me back to where I can see the man in the park again. He's sorting through things in the bag. It's not recycling pick-up day, when the gleaners come out early in the morning and pick out all the recyclables for which they can get money in return.

Another circuit. Yes, it is an enormous pile of recyclables. He's sorting them - plastic from glass, the only recyclables worth picking. He had to have been up and out working very early to accumulate that pile of plastic and glass bottles.

On another circuit I can see him, bent over the pile, like photos I've seen of people in the fields picking cotton. He looks just like that, bent over, sorting, picking, separating. I've gardened in that bent over position. It's really hard on the back and knees.

Work is work. He's been up early to go to work, picking, collecting, and now sorting. For how much, I wonder? I think I'll have to take some things to the recycling center at Stop and Shop where you can bring your sorted plastic and glass bottles and get money back. You're only allowed one bag of recycling per trip. That's the closest center I know, and it's quite a walk from the park across from the church. I want to know, roughly, how much he gets per bag, for all the walking he has to do around the city to gather that much recycling, sort it out, and then walk with his precious treasure up to Stop and Shop to cash it in.

Lazy? Maybe it's because you only see men like this one during the rest of the day, when they have already put in a days work trying to make some living from the stuff you and I throw away.

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