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Depressing Scene

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It is late night here in Philadelphia, there is a cold air blowing and rain falling. My breath leaves me in a puff of white as I walk my dog for the last walk of the night. The walk is a short one: only around the block giving her just enough time to finish her business and get back inside so that I can lock her in her cage and get myself to sleep.

discarded-old-computer-1 As I am walking this street, (and today being a Thursday) I notice that everyone has been good law abiding citizens and put their trash out for collection tomorrow morning. That is when I notice it. A sad spectacle and a good predictor of the future of your society can be made from the interpretation of what you and your neighbors throw out in the trash. In general, the wealthier a society will result in more refuse of higher value being discarded. You can go anywhere on the planet at any time in history and test this theory of mine out. Wealthy people have money to spend and will tend to throw things like computers (or any electronic devices), furniture, and even artwork out on trash day. Poorer people do not have as much money and thus, tend to buy less things and consequently throw less valuable stuff out, or at all (not counting garbage in the streets).

images (1) So it was that I am walking my dog and I notice that nothing of any value has been thrown out. Nothing at all but the minimal amount of refuse and the mandatory recycling that the city requires or they will ticket you. There has been nothing of value thrown out of any significant value for over two years. This surprised me as I live in a fairly nice neighborhood. When I moved here people were throwing out everything because they were buying new items: new TV’s, new computers, new couches, new beds, new furniture, and even new motorcycles! Yes you read that correctly: I actually walked the street one day and realized that I could rent an apartment, gather up almost everything I found (no cups or dishes), and furnish it… AND have free transportation to get to work! It would not have cost me anything but my time to pick up the stuff and move it. The quality of the garbage was used, but well cared for and high quality. They were discarded before they became useless.

Today, there was nothing, nor had there been anything of value seen in years. Even the people who drive around picking up big items for recycling (like a refrigerator) have not returned to my neighborhood. It was obvious to them: this area is now poor, and was picked clean by these people just as a vulture will pick clean a carcass found along the road. Americans in my neighborhood are middle class to upper middle class. They are poorer, and by a large margin they will remain poor and in financial trouble for decades to come. My country is declining and there is nothing anyone can or are willing to do to stop it.

santadigsthroughtrash images Lastly as I turned the corner of my street to head home an even more depressing scene emerged: a white women (normally I might see a minority, or a crazed alcoholic do this) was digging in the recycling buckets for aluminum cans to recycle! She was not drunk or on drugs. She was polite and moved very quickly in her search, telling me in no uncertain terms that she had been doing this long enough to know what was valuable among the scraps of the scraps. She was the vulture that came after the vultures!  These empty cans of soda and beer have a value of 1 cent. YES ONE PENNY! Yet here she was grabbing as many as she could because there was nothing left of value to take. And worst of all, I saw her with a removed street sign (she must have torn it down and was going to to recycle it for money… which is illegal).

When people can’t find work they will do what they need to do to survive, even if it means taking garbage worth a few pennies and stealing the infrastructure of modern society.

America is officially poor. Not in a recession, not in a temporary contraction. We are a poor nation and we are getting poorer.

We just haven’t admitted it yet.


Written by Josecito

October 27, 2011 at 11:59 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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