Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Paul's Package

The world is celebrating Charles Dickens' 200th birthday this month-- he's holding up remarkably well for a guy who is two centuries old. When I was younger, I read the Tale of Two Cities out-loud to men I loved, twice, and both times I ended up sobbing audibly.  I got to play Ebenezer in a Girl Scout version of A Christmas Carol.  I spent almost an entire month of one summer devouring Bleak House.  This birthday brings back lots of memories for me.

I was thinking about all things Dickens, and also mulling over my trash reduction goals, when I got this email about a member of my church.
Paul D. collects the following items, disassembles them, and takes them to recycling facilities.
1. Metal--File cabinets, lawn furniture, grills, washers, dryers, stoves, propane tanks, electronics, Small appliances, toasters, coffee pots, toaster ovens, vacuums cleaners, door lock or any type of locks, speakers, computers, Christmas lights, lamps, light cords, metal tables, shelves, cassette tapes, irons, radios, old metal hangers.
2. Newspapers, cardboard (cereal boxes, medicine boxes, etc.)
3. Aluminum cans (like soda, cat food cans, or anything aluminum).

Paul will pick things up. Just call him to make arrangements. His number is  . . .
Of course, I called Paul's home right away; only his wife was home.  The longer we talked, the more Dickensian the conversation became.  They live on just social security; his wife is legally blind, is in a wheelchair, and suffers from bladder and kidney infections.  Their insurance (medicare?) doesn’t cover herbal remedies (like cranberry juice).  Paul's metal salvaging helps bring in a few extra dollars to help with her medicines.

What Paul does is, he removes the copper, aluminum, steel from whatever "trash" he gets.  He pulls the copper out of strings of Christmas lights.  He disassembles all sorts of appliances to get at the metal in them.  He's so good at this, he even takes apart cassette tapes, separating the screws, throwing the plastic and tape away, and then recycles aluminum and copper from inside the plastic case.  It's not at all fair to compare Paul D. to Jerry Cruncher, but Jerry would approve, I couldn't help but think -- both of them resurrecting bodies that would otherwise have remained buried, and both for their own profit.

Paul came by this past weekend and took from us a box spring mattress we've been saving for the dump.  He also got our old defunct waffle iron, a broken screen door, and a discarded light fixture.  I've never felt so good about getting rid of trash, nor wished so much that I had more trash to offer.

So now my well-organized trash has yet another category: the Paul box.  God bless us, every one. 

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