I like junk. My special affinity is for rusty old washers. They call to me from gutters and parking lots. I bring them home to my little studio where I clean them up and pair them with a handcrafted chain of glass beads and copper. The graphic shapes, the heaviness and patina juxtapose beautifully with gleaming, brightly colored glass.
But unlike other jewelry-making supplies, I can't order rusty washers online. Their bright shiny cousins are cheap and in great supply at the hardware store, but like an unripe banana or a young bottle of wine, they don't have the same rich flavor or history. I find them one at a time in my daily wanderings, but as the selling season accelerates, I need to stock up. Occasionally, Greg and I trek out to search for supplies at a railyard or parking lot in an industrial area. This week, we chose the rainiest day in recent memory, bundled up in Goretex, and set out to hunt for booty.
In spite of the mud and rain, our search was fruitful, yielding a critical mass of rusty washers, an easily repaired handtruck, and $.43 in pocket change. Greg suggested that I experiment with ways to integrate cigarette butts into my jewelry. These expeditions for precious junk do make me a little nervous, though. I worry that police will inquire why we're wandering, heads-down, along a railroad or abandoned building. I worry that we'll inadvertently interrupt the displaced as we cheerfully look for trinkets in hidden spots that people use for eating, drinking, or shelter, their detritus signaling their activities long after their departure.
After a long, wet afternoon, we stumbled upon the best find of the day, Andy's Diner, a restaraunt comprised of old railroad cars. Its charming wood-panelled walls, long-narrow dining rooms, and cozy booths set the stage for a wonderfully conventional menu. The next time we have something to celebrate, such as it's Tuesday, I want to dress up and go to Andy's, find a romantic corner in the Sidetrack Room (I love anyplace that has a separate name for its cocktail bar) and order a Manhattan, prime rib and baked potato. OK, so I'm a vegetarian and have never liked steak, but it just seems like the thing to do.