Twice a year, our neighbourhood has a service called Bulk Rubbish Collection. On a certain weekend, you can put almost ANYTHING on the side of the road outside your house, and a truck will come and take it away for FREE.
The result is a kind of suburban awakening, an odd neighbourhood festival everyone calls “Bring Out Your Dead”.
People rip out 20 year old carpet. They knock down old kitchens. People toss out old refrigerators, barbecues, computers. And sometimes perfectly good televisions, bikes, furniture, toys. Out with the old. In with the new. It’s infectious and addictive.
I’ve managed to score lots of free outdoor toys and furniture for the kid’s play area. My husband scouts for pieces of timber, with which he turns into wonderful things.
One evening, we took our usual walk around the neighbourhood. To our amusement, we discovered that someone had dragged some couches into the park and arranged them like you would in a lounge room.
It looked like a beautiful, surreal artwork. Some evocative and bizarre statement about domestic life, consumer waste, and living in the presence of nature. From afar, it was a very striking image. Remarkable in its spontaneity. Astonishing in its disruption to the park. It was glowing like a beacon of suburbia. And we were immediately drawn to it.
I’m not sure what we expected to find. But as we walked closer, we saw four teenagers, sprawled lazily, yet talking excitedly about something. There was definitely a glimmer in their eyes and a buzz in the air. Maybe they too were struck by this peculiar, yet profound, arrangement.
But no. In amongst the teenaged random stammer, we worked out that their excitement was solely centred around an ipod and $2.40 they found behind the couch seat cushions. Indeed, this was what living in the suburbs was all about.