I Want To Be A Waste Gunner

Studio Card_edited-1

No, it’s not really a typo – I always wanted to be a waist gunner as well, but that was an ambition that could never have been realised. I do like to look at videos of the AC-130 in action, though, for all sorts of reasons.

No, the waste gun position I wish to man is out the front of local houses that have been slated for demolition. I see it every month somewhere in my local suburbs – a residence gradually broken into fragments and bulldozed into a pile – then the pile loaded onto dump trucks and taken away, with the final result being a vacant block ringed with the various neighbour’s fences. Sometimes there is a triumphant sign telling us the name of the contractors who have done it.

I want to sit out the front with an anti-tank gun and pot the bulldozers and cranes. Because I think the demolition is a wicked waste.

Our suburbs are relatively new in the urban scheme of things. The one I live in was unbroken bush in 1985 when we bought the block and built the house. The suburb that contains my studio was developed in the 1970’s – yet there are a number of the 1970’s houses being ripped out and thrown away. As yet, thank heaven, it has not come to our residential street.

Houses in Western Australia built from the 60’s onwards are not flimsy structures – they are double clay brick for the most part with tile or metal sheet roofs. Some of the older ones got asbestos sheet roofs and this is an ongoing replacement problem but that is a separate issue – for the most part these are sound and sturdy structures. Still. They may not be fashionable structures and they may be smaller than the owner’s would like, but they are the result of a great deal of time, effort, money, and resources having been spent  – and it seems a foolish loss of all this investment to crash it and spend again.

It’s a free country, and the owners of the property can change their minds as often as they change their underwear – and as long as they have money to spend, the builders have hands to receive it. But that same effort that is spent replacing the perfectly good house for Rich Person A means that there is less effort that can be spent building a house for Less Rich Person B. Indeed A could sell to B and go build somehwere else and another family would be housed. And all the electricity, oil, steel, wood and other resources would still be working for good, rather than being discarded and lost.

I do expect some day to have someone try to buy my studio as a structure to be knocked down and dumped. The block would be perfect combined with the next door neighbour’s as a grand residence opportunity in a prestige school district – or a multi-unit site. I hate the thought and wonder exactly what to say to it. No is a good guess, unless there were pressing considerations. Pray that none will eventuate.

Franklin on waste: ” Buy what you do not need and soon you will be selling your necessaries.”.


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