The staff in the local Salvation Army Op Shop love to play the old vinyl records that are donated. As I wander around looking for a bargain amidst the bewildering detritus of other people’s lives Bob Dylan asking plaintively “How does it feel it be a rolling stone?”
Now there’s a song that takes me back – visions of my brother as a young teen, his long brown hair flopping in his eyes as he puts Dylan on the turntable in his suburban bedroom. Just what year is this I wonder as I gaze at the second hand books. On the top shelf a box of floppy discs sits beside a pile of tattered magazines. On the cover of one a girl with big hair models a jacket with wide shoulder pads.
Leaving the books I move through the rest of the store as Bob Dylan continues to wail. I have to be in the mood for these places and that mood can quickly evaporate as I breath in the stale odours of outdated material goods. In the second hand clothing section I come across an African girl fingering the lacy cloth of a dress. She looks to be more at home than I feel. Quite a few African refugees have settled in this town over the past few years.
In the next aisle I walk past a Middle Eastern couple. The woman is in full hijab and the elderly man beside her is in a long pale blue robe. We don’t see many people in such clothes down this way. This couple look like new arrivals and I imagine a welfare agency directed them to the Salvos to get some basic household goods. They look the other way as I pass and I wonder how it must feel to be refugees from a country many here see as some kind of enemy.