Tim and the Tin Titan


Delinquent's Stash
I went exploring around my neighborhood on my bike yesterday. I started by following an old abandoned railway line I had meant to check out for a while. The tracks and cross pieces have been removed but the gravel is still there. This creates and impromptu trail across the back of properties. The people that live along the track had reclaimed the space between the track and factories, retaining walls or stores to plan gardens, they all had ramshackle fences but the plans were well cared for.

Further along the tracks, I came upon a wooded area that I did not know existed in my neighborhood: it is bordered by a field behind a factory, two dead end streets and a fence that I will later learn is the northern end of a municipal park. I started poking around and I eventually found a trail that leads into the woods. These paths were over-managed (dead trees lined up on the edges, felt paper layed down in the path) and definitely not what I expected to find. There were also 3 small bridges (little less than a meter wide, no guardrail, varying in legth form 4 to 20 feet) scattered around the trail. An even stranger occurrence was the two carved "totems". I use the term loosely as they were rather crude and it looked like they were made by 12 year old boy scouts. The whole experience was getting a bit surreal. On my way out, after a dozen loops around the trails (they are quite short), I met a man who was pointing out the totems to his two guests. Turns out he's the one who carved them. The man was in his fifties, long white hair and several bits and tips missing from various fingers. I could not help but picture him loosing those fragments while carving these naive totems with the tools found in his kichen drawer.

Back on the old tracks, I found a hole in the fence that separates the park from the tracks. Since it is big enough to ride through I figure is it often used as a short cut and that I would use it to get back home. On the other side of this hole, I found, splayed out on a car-sized rock, someone's hidden treasure trove. There was a shopping bag full of lego blocks already assembled into various house-like shapes, some yu-gi-oh cards and mage knights figures strewn about so that at first glance you would think that these belong to small kids. But after stopping to take a closer look (can't help it, I'm curious like that), I also found empty drug baggies (1 inch by 1 inch ziploc bags), an empty 6 pack of beer and what appeared to be the butts form a whole pack of cigarettes. Ok, so teenagers come here also, I thought. Then I stated to find the weird stuff: a brand new pair of leather men's dress shoes, a single sheet of paper with an essay called "the man called Noah", Polaroid of a (maybe) ten year old kid on the phone with "me talking to kim, 26 dec, 7:30pm" felt-penned on it, another Polaroid of a boy, maybe 12, posing at attention in a boy scout uniform, another out of focus picture was of a guy with short dreads on a couch. Then the bizarre stuff: a copy of the watchtower (jehova's witnesses booklet) bound in sewing thread, stuck full of pins and the badges and symbols from yu-gi-oh cards cut out and put in empty drug baggies.

It was like looking at someone's life through a strobe light that only flashed once every few weeks. I felt like Amelie when she discovers the secret stash in her apartment except that mine belongs to a drugged up, rebellious delinquent. I left everything as it was, and rode away wondering who the people who came here were and whether all of this will be here next time I go biking around there. I'll be sure to go see...