3 years ago
hikaymm
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Dumped Dinner: Diving for Bagels
Dumped Dinner is an original work of creative nonfiction by me, hikaymm. The story details my first experience dumpster diving. I'll be posting the full story up in parts; hope you enjoy it! Click here to read Part 1: Finding my Dumpster (http://www.vingle.net/posts/351319-Dumped-Dinner-Finding-my-Dumpster) ======================================= A week later, Sean’s white junker waited in a handicap spot outside my apartment building as I hurried out the door and knocked on the car window. His thin hands quickly motioned for me to get in before they returned to his cigarette box—hitting it one, two, three times before opening the pack and pulling one out. “You mind if I smoke in the car?” I minded, but told him not at all, flashing a smile. I could hear the rumble of the car beneath me as I anxiously waited to begin. It was cold out, but I didn’t mind. From what I had read, dumpster diving in the winter was good and bad: frozen food stayed frozen thanks to the cold, but that also meant your hands and toes could suffer on a particularly long haul. I still had no idea where we were going or for how long we would be out. Sean is easy to like—easier to talk to. When he stands outside and puffs his cigs, he talks about literature, the elitists that study it and reminds himself that’s why he could not stand his ex-girlfriend. “She always talked about these great themes in literature: death, poverty, you know. How she wanted to do something about them. But she never got up and took action.” He’ll laugh and change the subject to why he’s taking a break from school (“Too many rules. I just want to learn”) instead of lingering on the past. Sean keeps moving. Cigarette in mouth, Sean shifted the car out of park and took off. It had taken me weeks to track down a supporter of the Dumpster community, and he would be my guide to the unfamiliar. Lars Eighner, a writer who spent time in his life dumpster diving and later wrote about it, had spent months searching the Dumpsters of rich college kids who wasted perfectly good food since it was their parents’ money being stuffed into a trash bag. I had studied his techniques—his brazen attitude as he gathered his dinner from the waste of others. Eighner tells us that it is a slow process to become a diver, and at first, the diver will feel utter disgust for what they are doing. Would I, too, feel it as I slum it through the streets of Pittsburgh? “Let’s head to Bruegger’s first.” I nodded my head, giddy in my seat with excitement. Sean told me he only dives on occasion, usually when his friends want to. I asked him what kind of foods he usually finds, and he quickly told me again about the boxes of bagels his roommate often brings home. He told me about his homeless friend, Joe, who sometimes stays with them. He told me about Joe’s aptitude for diving. He told me about his bagels. We rode down the street and parked across from Bruegger’s. At six in the evening, a Sunday night, no one was around. Sean quickly took the lead and crossed the street in strides double the length of my small steps as I hurried to catch up with him as he got closer to the Dumpsters. Moving straight along the side of the building to the parking lot behind it, I glanced around me, but I did not see people, security cameras, or any other obstructions to my mission. Ahead, Sean slowed down as he approached the two large, green Dumpsters. Half of the cover on each Dumpster was open; the other half was blanketed in snow. "They’ve changed the dumpsters since I was last here a few months ago,” he said as he looked over the Dumpsters. “They used to open from the side, which kept the rain and shit out a lot better. Hopefully everything isn’t soaked.” I nodded, understanding. This was it: I pulled the sleeves on my jacket up to my elbows, ready to dig in and find the treasures the Dumpster held. I circled each of the Dumpsters, standing on my tiptoes to peak into the half-full receptacles before turning to look at Sean. I did not know what we were looking for, so I decided to watch at first. Sean did not jump in. Using his long arms and even longer legs, he simply reached an arm into the first Dumpster, lifting a box full of bagels out from the top of the garbage pile and setting it carefully on the ground next to my feet. “Grab those,” he said as he walked back to the second Dumpster to peak into it once more. I bent down to observe what kind of bagels he had rescued and was happy to find that they still carried the faint aroma of a bakery that I inhaled while surveying the box’s contents. I picked up a bagel and squeezed it gently. It was still fresh—still soft. I could eat these bagels. Even experienced divers still get nervous about eating foods that seem safe but are hard to judge, but to them, certain foods simple to categorize as safe . I think bagels may have been this food for me. Easily tested for freshness, even more easily eaten, I thought, smiling to myself. As I began to take a mental count of how many bagels we had so far, Sean headed towards his car, his voice indicating that we were done here. I looked around and glanced back at the Dumpsters. What about the bags inside? Tear those open! You’ve gotta get in! I quickly picked up the box and jogged lightly to catch up to Sean as he strode back to his white Ford. We will find more at the next Dumpster, I thought. “Let’s move on.” ======================================= To keep reading, follow my collection "Dumped Dinner" for the next installment! http://www.vingle.net/collections/1011681-Dumped-Dinner-An-experience-in-dumpster-diving
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4 comments
slowly after reading this you are making me want to try out dump diving too! @hikaymm the kind of mysterious mist and excitement from reading this is already so great! i mean i must admit before reading this dumpster diving was not in such great light for me but slowly it's shifting toward something that i would look as art! i mean it seems so much harder than what i thought it would be! and great job on the second part too!! i can't wait for the next! :)
@ameliasantos10 I totally understand! I definitely had a big prejudice against dumpster diving before I tried it and it still makes me nervous, but at the very least it's shedding light on a big issue!
@hikaymm i think i will seriously have to try it one day! i want to try and feel the nerves breaking dumpster diving too! but ofcourse not here in seoul! ahaha