If the best things in life are free, then why was this $1.99? My neighbourhood block goes hard for a pile positioned at the threshold of a property line. Items of interest in your community: trampolines, hamster wheels, wreaths. In all their forms and styles, makeshift vessels containing miscellaneous offerings, unloaded; life’s shoddy, just-shy-of-appealing offcuts. Not yet useless enough for the trash (but headed in that direction), these bland curbside street molluscs are destined for something greater still. With near-daily updates, I monitor the ever-changing shards of living people. Regionally significant detritus. Free things, residual things, blatant eviction things, things that are but barely at all. I’ve seen dry shampoo and frozen empanadas, half-consumed bottles of the order Condimentae. Unruly free bins and bins that take to the street. These objects are no longer under control, they’ve been discharged. A toddler stomps my head shadow. Can I get a free refill? Curb alerts are not garbage day. The transitory on display, like when I accidentally printed an inventory count sheet on top of my father-in-law’s eulogy. The big satellite story. The audible as a free bin. “Practice makes profit.” Free-leavers surrender to the ease of proximity and resist the temptation of a potential sale, concede all the bads just outside their own fortress walls. The last hopeful stop before landfill.
A free box on casters follows me around like a Roomba, catching kale stems that, through soiled dishcloths, have Plinko’d down the oven door, and collecting the debris of my days to prepare it for redistribution. Judge Judy after school. Flat bunny. Asphalt egg. Party with the Celebration Mix. Free problems, free relatives, free used face masks, free housing. Free boxes all over town and free bins big enough to fit entire cities. What about money? I’ve never seen that. Language as a free bin. “Furniture that steals your heart, not your wallet.” Whose wallet? The cheapest thing on their website is $89, which is better than I was expecting. “Curb alert: free stuff at up to 90% off!” accompanied by reassuring messages like, “These pens work, we just have too many.” This stuff is a burden, get it out of here! But don’t go too far…. The pile builds at lightning speed and dissolves just as quickly. I started before I’d intended to. Possible subjects include: fragments, hygiene, shrimp rings, Notes app, eating shows, reheating cold coffee, nail biting, Gillian Welch, sparkling water, the Lupine Lady, attention, learning to play the drums, cystic acne, Universal Excellence, creamed corn, taxes, oats, Shia LaBeouf’s mom.