Once upon a time last fall, the Beard and I spent two months traveling around America. Once upon a time a little while after that, I started to relate the entire saga on Click Clack Gorilla. And then I got distracted and wandered off. When I left off the tale (you can read the last installment here) we had just arrived in Nashville and were killing time before meeting up with our couchsurfing host.
There exists a faction of people who react very negatively to the idea of couchsurfing. They tell you that couchsurfing is dangerous. They tell you that couchsurfing is going to get you murdered. They tell you all of the things that everyone has said about anything considered dangerous/taboo that involves strangers since the beginning of time. I reckon that there is a small risk involved. But the beauty of being welcomed into the home of a stranger and showered with kindness is enough to restore even a shriveled old misanthrope’s faith in humanity in a matter of hours. And that’s worth a little risk to me. That and not having to sleep on another roof, but that’s another part of the story entirely.
Our couchsurfing host in Nashville was one of those heart-warmingly kind strangers. He gave us a comfortable place to sleep, he shared our meals, he carted us around town, and he took us for a coffee between the stone pillars of Nashville’s own Parthenon (did you know Nashville has a replica of the Parthenon just hanging out in a park? Because I didn’t). He was one of the kindest, most cheerful people I have ever met. But this story isn’t about him. It’s about his friends’ trash.
His friends, he told me in an email last week, had been dumpster diving at a Whole Foods Market out in Arkansas, and they came back with a truck load of booty: granola bars and breakfast bars, soy milk, juice, nuts, a huge box of goats milk, soap, and a wooden rack for chips that they’re going to use as a bottle drying rack. What a score.
And yet, no matter how much joy dumpster diving gives me, no matter how much adrenaline those folks’ blood was probably pumping with after that haul, I can’t help but feel a little sad. Because why the hell was it in the trash in the first place? Still?! People have been discussing the massively wasteful habits of western culture and specifically it’s wasteful practices when it comes to food for the better part of a decade if not longer and STILL we have truckloads of good food in the trash. Six cheers for these folks for taking it all out of the waste stream. A hundred lashes to all the supermarket chains and, while we’re at it, industrial ag distribution systems, that just keep filling it up.
a side note
I don’t want to leave you all hanging on the America travel story, should there be interest. So tell me what you think. Should I restart the America-travel saga where I left off? A teaser for your consideration: We hitch hiked to a bluegrass festival in Kentucky on the back of a pick-up truck, spent a night in the Smokey Mountains, slept on a barside rooftop in North Carolina, frolicked among the corn in Iowa, attended two weddings, and briefly strolled through New York City, just to brush the surface of what is still to come. So let me know if it’s yey or neigh down in the comments.