Memories From My College Job at a Recycling & Redemption Center
It was student-run. Who worked there? Mostly hippies.
- •We accepted/sorted office paper and newspaper, #2 plastic, glass, metals, and redeemable bottles.This was before zero-sort. 2001-2003.
- •I worked with this one girl, H, who was so dumb I couldn't stand it. I scheduled the pickups and I was the phone contact for the bottle distributors. She gave me a phone message from someone named Spacey Cootie.I asked her "Are you sure they didn't say their name was Stacey Cote?" After a few minutes of argument, and after I returned the call, she conceded that perhaps she'd heard them wrong.
- •There was a bookshelf area where folks could drop off books that were in good condition.Old cookbooks, hardcover mysteries, what-have-you.
- •One time someone brought in a big box of their daughter's diaries and attic-stashed shit from the 1980s. In that box was an orange prescription bottle. In that bottle was a plastic baggie of magic mushrooms.D took these home to see if they "still worked" and later reported back that they were still indeed good.
- •Someone dropped off a cap and gown the week after graduation and B wore it during his entire shift.This was pretty representative of B.
- •L called seagulls "dump chickens", a nickname I have used and loved since then.We had seagulls that hung out in the parking lot. B would scatter popcorn so they liked coming around.
- •I found a bank envelope with $75 cash in the paper recycling bin.I stupidly mentioned it to H, who was working the same shift, and then felt like I had to split it with her.
- •We'd take a beat-up old truck full of giant bags of bottles out to a storage shed for the distributors to pick up.B would give me the keys, tell me to go on a bottle run (even though the truck was only half full), and remind me to check the ledge over the door. This meant there was a joint stashed there.
- •B was a non-traditional student (mid-late 30s at the time) and had a lot of experience in the wilderness first responder field.He would drop everything to go hike Mt. Katahdin, even in the rain or snow, which was hardcore/nuts.
- •He gave all of us small gifts on our birthdays. Usually snacks or candies and a joint wrapped in colorful paper tied with a ribbon.He knew I was planning a cross-country trip after graduation and he gave me a book of National Geographic's Scenic Roadways and a copy of Aldo Leopold's "A Sand County Almanac" with a thoughtful inscription on the inside cover.
- •B was eventually fired for embezzling over $1000 from the register.This was after I had graduated. I was sad to hear about it because he was such a unique person and the purest kind of weirdo. I'm not sure what the real story behind the situation was, but I hope he got his shit together.