This Yogi Bear suit won the day at the Green Island dump.
Photo by Ceri Jenkins.
The world is filled with false information, crazy stuff
we haul aboard like lemmings in reverse, toppling towards the
next phase unaware we are living in a house built on sand. Eat
your vegetables or you won't grow. What mountainous piffle this
is. I have hoovered up vegetables like a Dyson all my life, yet
I've never been bigger than small. My mother took me to school
on the first day in her handbag.
Treat other people like you want to be treated yourself.
Arrant humbug. My demands are slim, I merely want to be
treated to coffee pavlova every day. So, I have to give my
551 Facebook Friends coffee pavlova every day? I can only
begin to calculate the cost of clinging to this mindless
homily. In a normal lifetime of three score years and 10,
I'll warrant I would spend 28 fadrillion English guineas.
That's a lot.
Civic pride. Classic! We are constantly told by tourism
writers, and I have to be careful here because I love Dunedin
to bits - Olveston, phew! - that we have the best this or
third-best that. Wasn't there something recently about the
Railway Station? But there are other treasures these junketed
tourism writers sail past as if they don't exist..
Yes, you know where I am going with this. I'm talking about
the shop at the Green Island dump.
This place is an absolute mindsnap. Mock me if you will that
it took me until last week to discover this unassuming trove,
bursting with things other people want dumped in the ocean.
As a non-driver, I just don't get to faraway destinations.
But last week, my driver, a scion of such places, showed me
the switch to make it light.
We hadn't even got inside when I found my first
mouth-watering thing. A lesser man would have walked past it,
a long red unlabelled rectangular box, but I have never been
a lesser man, and when I lifted it up and found it to be
really heavy, I knew only quality would reside within.
''Oh, they are fantastic!'' said my driver.
''I already have one, I put flowers in mine.''
The man that runs the shop came over.
''They're useless,'' he said.
''But if you want it, it's five dollars.''
Of course I wanted it. And when I opened the box, I wanted it
even more - a collapsible one-piece picnic table and seats.
Complex and intricately engineered, clearly designed by one
of those fine minds from MIT, which is another way of saying
not Made In China, this was a compellingly useful object. I
loved the little seats.
''Just don't sit on the seats,'' the man said.
Well, of course I was never going to sit on the seats; this
was for the grandchildren. We seem to be picnicking every
second day, and if there is a way I can move them away from
OUR table so I get to eat all the coffee pavlova without
their 10 fingers stabbing at its every sugar grain, than that
would be fantastic. Plus, the boys have very small bottoms,
and as Dylan once sang in arguably the finest of his word
salad songs: ''small bottoms never break the seats/not even
if they grow/of plastic dump shop tables down/in Desolation
After almost buying a superb yard broom - we have lost ours,
probably stolen, though you'd think they would have stolen
something else as well; my driver said the broom belonged to
the yard - I trawled through records for an hour or two. Some
habits never die. My driver was sagging beneath the weight of
a porcelain bowl of rare beauty into which she felt she may
be able to put flowers. I saw it more as an umbrella stand.
But she then won the day with a full-size
still-in-its-original-packing Yogi Bear suit. Two dollars. I
could have cried. I immediately offered her seven. She
laughed. The shop at the Green Island dump is wild, dangerous
and unpredictable. There is no online store like it.
- Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.