Table diving is one of those scavengers’ tricks that divides the mice from the men, as they say. Or, as I say, the germa-phobes from the kind of survivalists who will survive the zombie apocalypse by eating bugs and roasted rats. Table diving, a term fairly common in the punk community, refers to the act of “dumpster diving” a table. That is put plainly: eating the leftovers people leave behind at restaurants before the bellperson manages to whisk them off to the trash. Though I have my doubts about eating bugs (I think my conditioning to find them hideous and disgusting may be irreversible), I’m happy to dine on the leftovers of strangers.
This week’s dumpster find is a tale of table diving from Montreal scavenger Nokizaru, whose dumpster story you might remember from a previous dumpster find of the week post. Here’s what he had to say of his table-diving exploits:
“It’s probably Friday night (but Saturday works too) and we’re all walking home through St Laurent (the street in Montreal with a ton of bars and clubs) when someone suggests ‘Let’s go table at Belle Pro!” which is of course responded to by a collective “yea I could go for some poutine!’
“But wait, Nokizaru, what is Belle Pro? What is poutine? Well I guess it’s time for some Quebec food-culture lessons: poutine is a dish that consists of french fries, gravy and cheese curds, it’s pretty delicious and probably not good for your body in the long term, and Belle Province (Belle Pro for short) is a fast food chain that sells poutine, but more importantly hosts a plethora of drunk, post-nightclub people who really like getting full before finishing all their food.
“Either way, we’ll end up walking to the Belle Pro and sitting, you know, without ordering anything at all, trying our best to not look like dirty skids. Depending on how adventurous/social/drunk some of us are we’ll either wait for people to leave without throwing out their plates or we’ll boldly ask people if they’re done and take their plates if they are. Of course there’s the ongoing silent battle with the busboy who feels it’s his job to clear tables faster than we can get to the left overs (and also gives us dirty looks) but we usually win that battle, since we’re like, professionals.
“The photo above is one of the end results of us tabling one night, maybe five of us got maybe six or seven plates of poutine before we were full and turned in for the night. ‘Twas a good night.”
And someday I hope journey to Montreal and dine on poutine until my seams burst. Because to date my own table diving efforts have been limited to pizza and beer. Which brings me to one last bit of scavenging terminology: the floater, also known as the half-empty beer that has been abandoned at the party or restaurant, just waiting for you to drink it. Waste not want not…
Have you ever table dived? Can you even imagine trying it? Or is the idea of a stranger’s leftovers too gross?