Sep 26 2007

Yes Michael, There is a Recycling Angel

Published by at 5:49 pm under Tidings from Gabriola Island

Nephew with  My husband, Doug, just returned from the Gabriola Island Recycling Organization (GIRO) clutching his latest prize – a child’s keyboard synthesizer so sophisticated that I could play it myself without feeling foolish. The price: $1!  

My brother and his four-year-old son are visiting us and Doug didn’t want the youngster banging away on our expensive keyboard. So Doug headed for GIRO, where two keyboards awaited him. A cheap one for a quarter and a beauty for a buck!  

“Another ‘gift’ from the Gabriola recycling angel” exclaimed Doug, swearing that he’d never before seen a synthesizer at GIRO. 

“No surprise there,” said Doug, “we never needed one before.” 

Since we moved to Gabriola Island* in 2005, Doug has an unbroken record of finding what we need, just when we need it. The items may be cast-offs from other islanders, but most are top-of-the-line brands, in like-new condition, for a Loonie or less. 

What’s uncanny is that the things we need rarely show up at GIRO until the precise moment that we need them. Doug should know since he seldom misses a bi-weekly recycle day. (Treasure hunting is one of his more productive pastimes).  

The list of our recycled bargains is long:

  • When I needed a European electrical adapter for my laptop, Doug returned from GIRO with an expensive boxed set of multiple adapters and converters.

  • When I needed downhill skis, we found just my size in brand-new skis, unworn boots and perfect poles among a random jumble of lesser equipment.

  • One time, Doug unsuccessfully shopped nearby Nanaimo for a very large lid for his wok. The next day, he found the perfect lid at the Recycling Center.

  • Another time, a brand-new (still in the box) folding playpen showed up the week before the grandchildren arrived for a visit.

  •  Ditto a pricey stroller, high chair and bike with training wheels.

  • When Doug decided he needed an ironing board for a keyboard stand, he headed to GIRO and returned with a brand new, extra-sturdy one.

All of Doug’s fortuitous finds at GIRO have saved us hundreds of dollars while providing us with guilt-free recycled stuff. Is all this bounty part of the Gabriola culture or is it something else?

In the movie Michael, John Travolta (as Archangel Michael) tells the other characters that “there is no parking angel.” Not true, says Doug, and I have witnessed proof countless times. If I’m driving, there is never an empty spot within a block or more. But when Doug drives, he always gets the empty spot in front of the door. Always. In any city, anywhere, anytime.

When Doug eats in restaurants, he always, always, always gets hair in his soup. “Small price to pay,” he says. “Parking angels know there is No Free Parking.”

We haven’t yet discovered what he owes the Gabriola recycling angel, but if it’s the technical computer help he freely provides to any islander who asks or his other volunteering, then the angel is probably content.

As Doug is fond of saying: “Gabriola provides.”

* Gabriola Island is a little piece of rural Canadian paradise, among the Gulf Islands of British Columbia.

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