so i'm standing in the alley, helping a friend move stuff into his place, when suddenly a dumpster garbage truck backs up to us from the street. what do i behold atop the most recently collected trash in the truck's bin but a schwinn letour frame and fork (and most else except wheels) in visibly good condition. it was like fate itself was commanding me to fixie up this bike.
until the garbage guy came round back from the driver's cabin.
concerned that he might freak out if i just reach in, i ask "hey, can i take this bike?" to which he responds "if you pay me." i give him a suprised smile, to which he keeps his deadpan expression and sour attitude and responds "i'm serious." still smiling, i ask "well, how much do you want?" and he responds, still deadpan, "five bucks." so i consider it for a second. i tell him "it's yours" and casually get back to my business.
now, most bike folks acting rationally would easily hand over the five bucks and grab the frame with a smile. but i just didn't want to make a mean guy five dollars better off for helping him unload some of his "trash", even if the trash was my treasure. it was an emotional decision, i know, in that we would both lose out economically but i'd at least keep my pride in not helping out this guy i didn't respect. but, of course, i still waver between regret and pride.
did i do the right thing? is there a garbage truck etiquette that i'm not aware of, which holds that even the "trash" the garbage workers think is trash can be for sale to those who value it? or should the guy have just been cool about the frame and told me "yeah, take it--it's trash."