Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Episode 19: Small-town mentality

Here is episode 19 of the podcast. This one is called "Small-town mentality" and that's what we talk about. I look at small-town issues and what happens there. I discuss some things that I have noticed from living in Princeton over the years. I talk about women I see who smoke while they're pregnant. I talk about people who get into bad habits and spend time in jail. On a personal level, I talk about how I'm trying to clean up my life and some issues that recently arose when smoking marijuana. I was at a party and indulged. Then I got weird. What did I do? Recorded myself. It's included in the podcast. 

On the healthy-living note, I was riding my bike for exercise around Princeton recently. I had gone up a huge hill and didn't want to go up the next one, so I got off and walked my bike up said hill. While doing so, I encountered a man pushing a shopping cart full of aluminum cans. We chatted and had a nice moment. I left and began riding my bike down the street. My mind began racing and I thought about what an opportunity this was. I turned my bike around and went searching for him. I eventually found him and began the conversation you will here in the podcast.

Included below first is a partial transcript of me recording myself while high on marijuana. It gets a little weird. To hear the whole story, hit that play button.

* * *

Me high: I smoked some pot earlier. I'm. I'm high. I want to document this to make sure I know what's going on. I'm laying on a couch. I don't know where I'm at. I'm really cold. My head is chilly. People are just outside the door. [door opens] Shhhhhhh. Shhh. Shhh. Somebody just walked past me. They went into another room. They didn't notice me. I'm on a couch. I'm in a house. We're in Athens, I remember we drove too far. I didn't like it. I don't know; see, the thing is... [door opens] hold on, shhhhhh shhh shhhh. Okay, he just walked out the door.

The thing is, I sounded like I was distressed earlier. But, it's meta; I'm above it. I realized that I'm not actually... earlier was a lie. It's... You see... Fuck, it was clever. It really was. Oh, I was above it. Meta. Like, I feel like it's not real. But, it is real. But, really it's not. Parentheses inside of brackets. Oh my God. No, this is good. This is good, go with it. I didn't realize that it was real? Yeah, because they're out there. And, they realize that I've walked away. But, do they really realize it? Because there's two of them and I don't know who they are.

* * *

And that was me kind of out of my mind while smoking pot. I got past it and felt better within a couple hours. 

Below is a partial transcript of my interview with the guy collecting cans. As I mention in the podcast, I say that "collecting cans" is the nice way of saying this guy goes through the trash looking for cans. The first 8 minutes or so are below, the whole interview is about 17 minutes.

* * *

Chris: How long have you lived in Princeton?

Bobby: Shoot. I've been here ever since I was 29... Uhhhhh, no, 18.

Chris: 18. How old are you now?

Bobby: 61.

Chris: 61? And, do you live... Do you have a house around here? Where do you live at?

Bobby: I live across the bridge down there.

Chris: Oh, down...

Bobby: Down on Thorn Street.

Chris: Oh, down on Thorn Street. And, do you... What do you do for a living?

Bobby: [looks at his cans]

Chris: You collect cans?

Bobby: Yeah.

Chris: How much does that get you?

Bobby: I get about $13, $15 a day.

Chris: About $15 collecting cans a day?

Bobby: It's not too bad.

Chris: It's more than I'm making today

Bobby: How much you make a day?

Chris: It depends. I wait tables.

Bobby: Where you work at?

Chris: Outback Steakhouse.

Bobby: I don't know where that's at.

Chris: You know where Walmart's at? It's there.

Bobby: If I come over there, you gonna give me a free steak?

Chris: I'll see what I can do for you. So, do you... And, do you just kind of walk around the streets collecting cans?

Bobby: Yeah, I just walk down the streets collecting metal. Shoot, you can't hardly get a can or metal around here anymore. I'm lucky getting these.

Chris: So, what do you do? Just get them out of the trash or something?

Bobby: Yeah, just different places. Mostly when people throw them away in garbage bags, I open the garbage bag up and get the cans and then close it back up.

Chris: Is that all you do? You don't get any retirement or disability?

Bobby: I get SSI.

Chris: Okay. Where do you take these to after you get them?

Bobby: You know where the railroad museum is down here? I just go right up behind that road and there's a junkyard out there. You ever been out there?

Chris: I know where it's at, I've never been out there though. How long have you been doing this?

Bobby: Doing this? Shoot, I've been doing this since I was 18. 

Chris: Wow. 61 now...

Bobby: Yeah, good little while.

Chris: Yeah. So, even if it's like raining or snowing out?

Bobby: No.

Chris: So, what do you do? Like, when we had that snowstorm, what did you do?

Bobby: Stay in the house. Sometimes, I get out and shovel people's sidewalks.


Chris: So, how many hours a day do you go out collecting cans?

Bobby: Oh, I do it all day long.

Chris: So, you just store them in this little area here [points toward open door at apartment complex]. Is this a friend's shed or?

Bobby: If I leave them out here, somebody will see them and grab them like that. I had people do that to me before.

Chris: So, there's more people who go out and collect cans?

Bobby: Yeah, there's about 4 or 5 other guys.

Chris: Wow. So, 4 or 5 other guys competing for Princeton's cans. Do you know them? Are you friendly with them?

Bobby: Oh, I know them. They don't give me no trouble; I'm friendly with them.

Chris: Did anybody ever give you trouble, like they see you on the streets doing this?

Bobby: No. They're just friendly to me. Sometimes they give me money. But, Princeton ain't like it used to be. Seems Princeton has gone downhill.

Chris: What did it used to be like? What was a good thing about it?

Bobby: It was built up. It was a better stage, they used to have more buildings here. I remember when the old Lowes building was across the bridge.

Chris: That's the church now, right? That's what we're talking about?

Bobby: Yeah. And, I wish they had a bluegrass place around here that we could go out and dance. No doping or alcohol, that would be good.

Chris: Yeah. 

Bobby: And, they need to put a shelter in here.

Chris: Are there a lot of homeless people in Princeton?

Bobby: I saw one guy sitting up at the park. He was homeless.

Chris: What caused all the problems in Princeton? Do you know? Like, drugs?

Bobby: I believe it's these prostitutes. They go out and get money and buy drugs. They need to quit that.

Chris: Yeah, they do.

Bobby: They need to get off the streets. The government ought to put them in rehab, or in the army one.

Chris: Yeah, gotta do something. So, 61 now. How long do you see yourself out collecting cans?

Bobby: I don't know. I'll probably do it until I'm about 80 years old, if I live that long. You can't never tell when you're gonna go.

Chris: Yeah, we can only hope to live to 80.

Bobby: Yeah, you've gotta go one of these days.

Chris: On a day-to-day basis, do you enjoy your life?

Bobby: Yeah.

Chris: So, you enjoy waking up, collecting cans, doing what you do.

Bobby: Mmmmm hmmmm.

Chris: Do you think it could be better?

Bobby: It could be better. I wish I could go out here and get a load of them at one time. The trouble with me is I gotta go here and there, here and there, here and there. My feet get wore out.

Chris: So, you walk up and down the street collecting cans?

* * *

And there's more. There is a a lot more included in the footage of me being high. There's so much more to my interview with the old guy collecting cans. There's a whole lot to the whole podcast. Except for the first few minutes; I kind of waste time talking about games on my iPhone. Otherwise, the whole thing is a must-listen.

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