Dumpster diving always made me feel a combination of emotions. I very much enjoy it and feel great joy gathering food and utilizing the resources available to me and getting free food. But it gets weird when others gawk at me. They make me feel umcomfortable, sleezy and dirty, it’s as though I’m scum to them. But I began to realize I’m not inhuman scum, in fact the opposite. I am truly human, they are the aliens.
Majesty first put word to what I was feeling and it just started to feel so right. The understanding first happened when I was trying to trash pick the end of 5k in Philadelphia. There were a couple of people picking at the event and the event goers were just gawking at us. Their stares were merciless at times but then I looked at my fellow pickers to see what they were doing.
They were strong in how they were and stood proud of what they were doing, unashamed and unaware of others glares. This one woman in particular stood out to me. She was a middle aged Asian woman with an accent. She had a kid’s bike with a basket on the front on the ground next to her were two big reusable grocery bags full of chips, bananas and oranges. She was in her own world as she munched on chips and enjoyed the weather.
After hanging out in the area for a while she came over to me and offered me food. I accepted and she promptly tried to give me a lot of food. She gave me 3 bags of chips a banana and an orange and pushed me to take more. This was an experience I haven’t had since dumpstering at South Weis in State College. There was a guy there with a thick Russian accent and limited English vocabulary. He went through his box of food offering me everything there was in it. Apples, meat, vegetables, yogurt. Every time he found something he offered me at least half.
It was such a profoundly human experience. Most people go day to day not worrying about food, taking it for granted. But poor people and dumpster divers think of it differently. Food is an invaluable resource one that if there is plenty it needs be shared, one that doesn’t belong to one person or another but to people.
Just as these two people did, just as the Casbah did, just as I have done time and time again whether it was with roommates or the Share-it-blanket. Sharing, breaking bread, enjoying and realizing the joy of a plentiful harvest. It is what makes us so human. Yet it is an experience that so many humans never experience.
Instead they hoard their plenty, and gawk at others struggling to survive or living upon their waste. They are trying to get ahead and all they can see on their path is themselves. They are individuals without community or alliances. They miss out on the biggest benefit of being human, being with other humans. The act of sharing food is such a wonderful feeling, it builds community and brightens your own spirit. There are countless benefits to this, but I would say most importantly the benefit is that of being human.
The gawkers and onlookers who don’t understand aren’t human they are aliens. They don’t feel this so human of emotion, they don’t understand and can’t relate to what we are doing. Instead they look down on us as though we aren’t human – but it is they who aren’t human. They pridefully detach themselves from all it is to be human and instead become aliens.
These are the aliens from the movie They Live. They are the aliens who control the corporations and the government. They make the rules they make the decisions for all the humans, but they aren’t even human.
So don’t be an alien. Realize the importance of food, community, and sharing your plentiful bounty.