It is called recycling!

I am now self-employed, having my Saturday business with the Kootenai County Farmers’ Market and otherwise, recycling aluminum cans. However, going out just about daily to collect cans along various routes, I sometimes run across people who seem to think that I need groceries or money. To such people who think you are doing a favor to someone who has not asked you anything in the way of a handout: No, I am not a panhandler. No, I am not homeless. Yes, collecting cans with the intent to sell them is in fact work where it involves some form of income. A lot of people recycle aluminum. And I have met up with people who haul along big garbage bags and explore dumpsters trying to find cans to eventually sell. I met up with a guy who works at Taco Time, who mentioned how he and a friend took a truck up onto Cherry Hill and came away with three garbage bags full of cans. In Idaho, recycling isn’t the work of “homeless” people. It is in fact a concerted effort by people who are looking at ways to make a bit more money. And excuse me, but I haven’t exactly seen any homeless people bothering to pick up aluminum cans.

So along comes a fellow and his wife? girlfriend? where I am initially at Prairie Avenue Mall going a recycling route north on Government way, a bearded fellow who insists on calling out to me, gets out of his rig with a handful of coins and even after I show him my actual address; he wants to push money on me and have me listen to some rant about Jesus. He should have paid attention the first time that I have no interest in simply “taking cash” from people. I am in the business of recycling. Because now on Sunday, that this same dude starts to pull out of a Mountain West Bank branch on the corner of Ramsey and Kathleen; he wants to know if I’d like a ride. I gesture up to Oak Crest and tell the dude that I live up there. With about a mile to take the turn into the mobile home park. Then I see that the dude has some money in his hand and repeat what I already said. Again, this dude wants to spout Jesus this and God that. As before, I turn away from him and take off and he (the dumb ass that he is) yells, “Can I pray for something.” Maybe the answer should be: pray that I don’t call the cops to come and arrest you. Seriously? Is this guy’s only interest to travel all over Kootenai County until he spots me, have some cash in hand and spouts the word of God? Oh, and the woman with him stares out the front window of the SUV, her right hand shielding her eyes, and doesn’t seem to move, even to talk to a guy who is beginning to be quite an embarrassment. Very, very strange. Even if I were indeed a homeless person in need of help, I wouldn’t want it from this creep.

No, you don’t want to trust people under this sort of circumstances. So, who does he think he is representing if anyone? Or is he a guy who thinks he will get one more step to heaven by waving money in people’s faces and spouting about God? Or, worst case scenario, a potential predator who uses various ruses to target the people he thinks could be vulnerable. Definitely someone to stay away from. For people who are simply ignorant then, homeless people generally carry all of their worldly goods with them. If ignorant people want to see a “homeless” person who carries a sack to put aluminum cans in, but do not see that person carry worldly possessions with him or her, what would that suggest? Then maybe it should start suggesting that you see a person in the business of recycling! In a low income state that Idaho truly is, people may indeed beat the bushes trying to find work, but a recycler is a person who beats the bushes dredging out aluminum cans to sell for the money. A recycler finds his own work and can begin to get a significant income for doing so. As the Taco Time employee said, “Money is money, however you can get it.” Yeah, and if I am out to earn money by selling aluminum cans, I see no cause to take cash or groceries from people who should be taking care of their own families first. I have no doubt you mean well. But your charitable actions would be better spent in asking your religious institutions what truly needy people could use the help. Or, in helping people get employment that earns real pay. That would be even better. So, excuse me, but recycling actually is a job whether you want to recognize it as such or not.

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