Cart of Darkness

What the hell is up with all the shopping carts everywhere?  I don’t mean at stores – obviously they belong there – but everywhere.  All over the streets, sitting around.

We walked the dog this evening  – that’s not a euphemism, I actually have a dog:

Who’s a good boy?

… And I bet we saw eight stolen shopping carts, from a variety of stores:

This is theft; if you take a shopping cart from a store’s parking lot, you are stealing it.  This has only started happening in the last few years, too.  My recollection is that it used to be kind of an unusual sight to see a stray shopping cart sitting on a lawn; now I literally cannot walk in any direction from my house further than a thousand meters without seeing one.

Now, my timeline as to the recent growth of this phenomenon might be a bit off, but I know this didn’t use to happen.   I know that because I never rode around in shopping cart on the street when I was a kid, and if there had been spare shopping carts around my friends and I would ABSOLUTELY have injured ourselves doing that.  I grew up in Kingston, Ontario on Pembridge Crescent, at the bottom of a hill, and other kids lived at various points up the hill.   Probably fifty percent of our spare time was spent finding ways to careen down the hill at incredibly dangerous speeds.  If something had wheels, down we went.  Bicycles, skateboards, wagons, Big Wheels, I think one time a furniture mover; if there was the opportunity to use gravity to create speed and bodily harm, by Christ we were going to do it, and if there was a snowfall we’d rush out before the plows could come by and go down that damn hill right in the middle of the street on our sleds and Krazy Karpets.  If a car came along and killed someone, well, that’s the price you pay for fun.  One of my favourite pastimes was to ride my bike down the hill on the sidewalk and, at the bottom, leap off it onto our front lawn and see how far my bike would go without me.  I wrecked two bikes this way.  I am absolutely, one hundred percent certain that if we had found an stolen shopping cart, the first thing we would have done would to take it up to the top of the hill, jumped inside, and gone sailing down, over and over again, until our parents made us stop or the ambulance came.  In retrospect I’m surprised we didn’t go steal one ourselves.

The area I live in now has no major hills, which is, I assume, why you never see these carts zooming by filled with happy and endangered children.

The number of imbecilic things we did was beyond measure. “King of the Hill” was a favourite. I went to a school downtown where the playground was just a parking lot, and every year once the snow started falling it would just be plowed into a big pile. By mid-January it would be eight or ten feet tall and mostly solidified ice and we’d commence throwing each other off it and rolling down the ice hill and smashing into the asphalt and getting up for more. Then the teachers would stop us and we’d play full contact Red Rover where you had to run across the parking lot without being clotheslined by a kid two grades above you. Recess was 15 minutes long and by the time it was over the parking lot/playground looked like Gettysburg after Pickett’s Charge. It made the NFL look like a knitting circle. If you tried to make it a professional sport the government wouldn’t allow it.

It’s actually kind of a miracle I survived childhood.  God, I was stupid.  I’m still stupid, but I’m old, and riding around in a shopping cart would cut into my nap time.

If you did something hideously dangerous as a child, comment about it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *