June 22 2011
There’s a guy around town who is the most amazing can recycling collector I’ve ever seen. I remember noticing him a while ago for his professionalism with can collecting. His double shopping cart was always well organized. He worked the streets totally prepared with blue plastic bags and ties and such. He’d go methodically from house-to-house-can-to-can like a machine. Collecting cans like he was on a mission.
He is almost OCDish in his surgical strikes on trashcans. No distractions. No talking. No apologies. Not looking for anything else but the cans. I bet if there was something possibly valuable in the trash (old suitcase or golf putter)– he’d pass it up. It’s not his business. It’s only about the cans.
The demand for cans is unfortunately going up alarmingly fast. On recycling day I’m sure there’s competition out there to gather cans. Occasionally, some unprofessional can collector will rummage through the neighborhood garbage leaving a mess all over the street. Not this guy. He never leaves a mess. And he’s quiet. He doesn’t bang stuff around. In and out. Boom done. There’s no other way to describe him but professional.
There’s something about this guy taking such pride in his work that is way impressive– but it’s hard to figure out if this guy was doing ‘ok’ or simply maintaining. Was he homeless? Semi-homeless? Where did he go at night? And considering the high volume of cans– where did he even take them? I don’t know a local place that can handle that kind of volume. Bags upon bags upon bags. Packed full. What kind of money is in it?
Well, recently I saw he’s expanded his business…
The other day I watched can collector guy organize his cans in and on top of his new car! Packed with cans! Certainly not homeless at all! But it made me wonder how much is in those cans to support a whole car. Gas costs, insurance (hopefully), parking (meters at least), plus he had to buy it in the first place etc… I wondered how many cans this guy must be collecting a day to support this investment. He’s simply great at it.
I realize it ain’t an easy way to make a living. It’s far from ideal (although I shouldn’t judge– who knows where happiness lurks) but regardless, there’s just something that’s amazing about this guy in his 100% can focused tightly organized world. It could be looked at as depressing kinda sorta maybe– but I’m thinking if you’re potentially the best in the world at something (anything)– there’s always gotta be a successful sly smile behind the appearance of intensity.
PS. Here’s the new britney video