empty cardboard container, whey protein
paper towels (12) one with automotive oil
carry out boxes, chinese
envelope, Bank of America
subscription card, pornography
beer bottles, imported (12)
drip coffee filters (8)
coffee grounds cover everything spilling from the gaping wound in the side of the generic trash bag slouching in the center of my living room. these are just a few of the things that litter the spaces between odd colored puddles in the creases of a plastic sheet i drape over the carpet to keep it from staining. menthol lip balm dabbed under our noses does little to cut the acidic scents that invade our noses with long putrid fingers.
his name is joe, he likes to look nice, cares for his appearance but is cheap behind the scenes. his girlfriend is the blond, i have pictures, from the balcony of the two story apartment across the way but she doesn't know anything about friday night visitors. his roommate thought this was funny to share with a nice complete stranger he met, me, in the coffee shop. "oh you live there, i am just down the way, maybe i will stop by sometime."
joe goes to school two days a week, after work, learning to get ahead, pursuing the next big raise, so he isn't passed up or over in the office. a couple quick phone calls, flavored with information i garner from the garbage entrail covered mail and i begin to paint a picture of what joe likes, who joe is, beyond the front page of his facebook. he doesn't make his bed, i see this through the open door when i stop by to borrow something from the roommate who thought little of it. he even has a teddy bear, white with red accents.
you would be surprised what you can learn about people by what (or who) they are willing to discard. we rarely think about where our trash goes, who looks at it, or why. it just sits in heaps, waiting to be buried, so they can build monuments, tall towers of our plastic wrapped waste, if it even gets there. joe's didn't, and all that i learn fits nicely on a disc, secured in an plain mustard envelope, and he has no control over the image i project.
lucky for him it is a school project on surveillance and not something to slip under his door to remind him that someone is watching and waiting, not believing who he says he is and just maybe willing to prove him otherwise, the next time he opens his mouth, to share truth or otherwise.
the trashman cometh.