Sunday, August 23, 2009

Something Trashy.

When I was in college a few guys I knew would go dumpster diving. They had a few places that they favored, and came back with interesting articles that they incorporated into their sculptures. This sort of pastime was also an obvious connection for a few others that I shared a space with last night. One, during harder times, would forage for food, another, during fast times, found a discarded bag of cocaine in a trash bin near a university in New York. The lights that hung over the lot glistened as we reminisced, standing immersed to our shoulders in the cool clean waters of a secret location somewhere near the Gowanus is Brooklyn, N.Y.
Now, I have never been dumpster diving in any fashion, and to this day I still can’t claim that feat, but I have swum far enough from the city lights to see the stars, yet close enough to my apartment to bike back home to get dry clothes after I swam in, of all things, a dumpster (the depth, as I said, was just above shoulder height, hence the no actually diving and all.) Now the location of this establishment is pretty much a secret, The Times did an article, so people know it exists, but unless you are really good at location determination based on structural suggestions from article photos, or you had the privilege of an invite, chances are you would walk by and never know it was there. I did, almost twice a week for the last few months I walked right by without ever knowing it was there. That’s kind of the point of it, in some respect, to avoid overcrowding and maintain the hangout in the backyard kind of feel. At least that’s what I gleaned. Amanda and I entered through a gate earlier in the afternoon and cycled passed a couple of old cars that competed for their spot in the lot with a patch of unruly greenery, as well as some stored RV’s, and construction equipment. We leaned our bikes against a forklift, and felt no need to use the lock. Most of the other attendees were expected to arrive later in the afternoon verging on evening, so we lavishly enjoyed the bocce ball with a few other friends, and swam in one of three conversions as one by the rest of the amazing guests filtered in.
The pools, as I said, are made out of dumpsters. Dumpsters, I tell yeah. Gently used, at that. The forklift that provided support to our bicycles, I found out later, was instrumental in the arranging of the three vessels. Two of taller bins were positioned parallel to each other, and a shorter “kiddie pool” ran through the center, h-ing out the design that was surrounded by a painted deck. Each tank had standard ladders installed, and an efficient filtration system. The interior of dumpsters themselves had been smoothed, the floor lined with sand, some with sand bags (which provided seating in the shallow pool) and walls were lined with a double tarp system which sealed the water, nearly 20,000 gallons between the three, from spilling into the canal nearby. I swam in two shifts, night and day, taking a few breaks to lounge in the chairs, make some new friends with the toss of the polina, or watch the fire breather spew flames just as the owner of the lot strolled in. My, “you’re gonna be in trouble” nature flared up a bit, but was quickly snuffed as I saw the man watch the flames light up the night sky and then walk over and shake the coordinator of the evening’s hand. It was one of those happenings that you just happened upon when you live in a place like this (if you just happen to be extremely freaking lucky.) And I was one of many through the day and night who stopped for a moment to a look around, and acknowledged with a smile at that they fact that they were actually there. Swimming in dumpster.