Friday, May 16, 2008

The Tire Experiment

It all began last Sunday, when the tires went out.

My buddy made sure it was garbage day Monday, but by the end of the day the trucks had come and gone, but the four tires remained, stacked on our lawn. Apparently they don't take tires.

What to do?

While we pondered and made phone calls, we watched from our front room/ office at the reactions of passersby to our sculpture of rubber. We live on the corner of Lyon and Gilmour in Ottawa and, in addition to The Beer Store Parade, plenty of interesting folk stroll, rush, and chat past our window everyday.

On Tuesday morning, we noticed a small boy -- maybe four (at least taller than four tires) -- stop and stare down the recess created by the four tires. He stood there awhile, and eventually his father came to look. We saw them nod in agreement, and we *thought about* running out and telling them they were free for the taking. But then they were gone, and we were left with our curiosity.
When it got the better of us and we went to check things out for ourselves, we saw that someone had put a slice of pizza down there. Just a few bites gone.
Were they coming back?
You don't usually see largely-uneaten pizza on the street. Were they looking for a garbage can and thought this the next best thing?
Does Ottawa need more garbage cans?

Later that day, our landlord came to mow the lawn. Tires moved to sidewalk (no boulevards on Lyon). Following this development, we garnered a few nasty looks from our neighbours in adjoining townhomes, and we remembered just how ugly tires are.

On Wednesday, the tires had been moved again. This time into two stacks of two. I believe this was done on behalf of the local squirrels, who had now broken the pizza slice in two with their nibbles.

The status of the tires remains unchanged Thursday, but for some glances ... and increasing guilt on our part. Ottawa sure is beautiful this time of year, what with the blossoming, lush trees, the multi-coloured tulips and the flurry of folks enjoying the warm, sunny weather.
Whose tires are those??

On Friday morning, I looked out the front window with glee: two tires gone!
"Should we put a sign out? 'Take the rest?" my roommate asked. Hmmm ... we wondered. Is there a resale or recycling value for tires? Hopefully...

Just then, a guy on a bike dressed in a reflective vest stopped in front of our house. Wouldn't you know it, he draped one tire on each of his handles and rode away, barely wobbling. Gone are the tires!

As a final chapter, and a nod to our neighbours, the next-door dog owners came by and, pooper-scoop style, bent down and picked up the pizza remains so their beautiful huskies would not be tempted to mow down gone-bad people food.

This whole experiment made me realize my love for a few things: our neighbourhood, Ottawa in the springtime, freelance writing that lets me stay at home and watch the outside world while I work, and the way spontaneous intentions of others can remove guilt and solve problems.

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