Street Tales: Somebody stole my doorknob

One of the characteristics of the street life as lived by those with addictions is their penchant for oddball items; it seems as if their focus on life has taken a detour through a myriad of items that have no real purpose or need for the style of life they live.

In backpacks and bags that have been left behind, we take a look for identification; if none is found we hang on to it for a few days, and then go completely through it before disposing of it or recycling it to someone who might need it. The articles found leave us confused as to the reason for someone collecting some of these items.

Tools of various kinds we understand because they will often use them to take things that need some dismantling. Sometimes we even find some of the items they have stolen. Like in one backpack we have at present, the contents include some copper and brass compression fittings for a commercial propane system of sorts. We also find GPS units, MP3 players, broken phones and so on. But some items defy reason. We have found a scythe, compacts with broken mirrors, felt markers, various bits of jewelry and the list goes on.

In front of our house we have a brightly colored book exchange box. It was a fun project, so I did a few fancy extra things to make the appearance more pleasant. On the door of the box I needed a door pull or knob if you will. The knob I chose was a brass lion’s head with a ring in its mouth, quite tiny, the head only about three centimetres; it really added to the appearance of the box.

Then yesterday, we had gone out to do some shopping, and as we unloaded the car, we glanced at the book box to see if there were some recent exchanges. There are usually some everyday so it just tells us that this box is being used very often; sometimes people will even drive up from who knows where and visit it to peruse the contents. What we noticed, really put a question in our minds as to why in the world someone would do something like this. Someone had stolen the Lion’s head door knob off the book box door!

Now why in heaven’s name would they want a doorknob? They are only about six bucks at a hardware store! At first we were bewildered but that soon turned to anger at such a stupid gesture, then as I reflected on it, I began to realize that whoever it was, must have some kind of collector obsession to either just take stuff like this for the sake of taking it undetected, or they just really needed a Lion’s head door knob.

Usually though, I find that need very seldom has anything to do with the theft and or possessing the items taken; I believe that it involves a small form of control. Maybe it lends a bit of value to an otherwise mundane life.

There are some folks that without thought or purpose will take anything left lying about, regardless of what it might be. For instance, one young woman will snatch several pens that have been left on a table or ledge, or a book that she would probably never read. It seems as if she has an obsession with taking anything and everything that she can whether she will use it or not. Once she even took one of my jackets that was hanging from a door knob, put it on, and then half an hour later she walked by the kitchen with a different coat.

So my friends, be warned, don’t leave things lying about, especially Lion’s head door knobs!

Chris Salomons is the kitchen co-ordinator at Potters Hands.

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