May 26, 2008

Digging for Undergraduate Treasure

I owe many settings on my finely tuned biological clock to the proximity of nearby accredited live in universities. My year around 7am to 6pm shut in job has dulled my environmental awareness of the season’s school delineated time markers: Pencil cases acquired in August’s back to school shopping blitz, the clean break of post-midterm winter recess, spring break’s MTV made-to-believe Mexican charms, and the dumpster diving glee of summer’s start.

There are a lot of queues that mark the beginning of summer in NYC: The sudden disappearance of good looking people on the weekends, sidewalk garbage of increased smelliness, air condition unit ugliness moved from storage room floors into teetering windowsills, the endless mysteries of sold out music festivals, and of course, the hidden treasures of undergraduate dumpster diving. Each May opportunistic deal hunters line up to sift through the disposed runoff from NYU students hurrying back to their families. As the nine axle Mayflower moving truck can only hold so much, things like aquariums, wheelie desk chairs, shoddy bookcases, and canned peas are all left for the taking. While spectating one of these digs on a recent stroll home I stood wondering what I had left behind in the dumpster outside my freshman dorm...

1. An unexplainably large, three quarter broken AIWA bookshelf stereo system equipped with double cassette deck, analog tuner, and annoying top-spring loading compact disc player.

A stack of international trade policy papers each marked up with a different “X” supply/demand chart.

Remnants of my J.A. administered freshman year “community service” project: empty Krylon green spray can bottles, college sweatshirt sleeves covered in chipped green paint, tissues tangled in green snot, and a bunch of heavy metal gardening stakes.

A pips-out ping pong paddle, three pairs of Nike middle distance track spikes, deflated red and white Karch Kiraly beach volleyball, and warped 175 gram flying disc.

Hot water percolator with frayed cord.

Two mini ice cube trays, capable of fitting in the 75% frosted-in freezer portion of my mini fridge.

Tattered Birkenstock sandals with dried out cork soles.

Worn out copies of Marble Madness, Rush ‘n Attack, Dr. Mario, Gauntlet, Bionic Commando, and Blaster Master for NES. (Blaster Master wasn’t so much worn out as it was broken into a bunch of low-tech shards courtesy of my black leather Doc Marten boot sole.)

My full kitchen cookery/flatware set: broken saucepan, white plastic strainer, plastic bowl, and fork.

The bed sheets that covered my two inch thick “water resistant” mattress.

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