“Oh. No. Oh. I really don’t want to go outside again tonight.”
I say nothing, knowing we are both thinking the same thing and hoping that his voice and not mine will chide him out of bed with me tonight.
“But I guess if we don’t go we won’t have anything to eat tomorrow.” He sits up and starts to slip into layers of long underwear and hooded sweatshirts.
It’s not true though, that we would have nothing to eat if we didn’t get out of bed. He reminds me night after night that it will never be true as long as we live in a community like this. It is hard to start believing in that kind of security, that kind of dependable mutual aid, when you’ve been raised capitalist, when your history books used the term “dog eat dog” so much when talking about life.
We walk because both of our bikes have flat tires and because the roads are still icy. Almost to the first stop we meet someone just returning from dumpster diving. He hasn’t found much, he tells us, just the eggplant and salad and Brussels sprouts laying exposed in his back bike basket. I am surprised that he offers us nothing because I have become so used to sharing food that I don’t even think to ask before eating off of a friend’s dinner plate.
He might have missed something, we assure ourselves and walk on. He had. There are two bags of bread, two small fruit smoothies, and a bag of limes. The rest is already frozen. At our last stop we kiss for a moment so that a man walking his dog doesn’t realize that we’ve actually stopped to raid the dumpster. But when he passes we find that it is empty and walk home.
In the morning I am hungry. I think of beans and lentils and pretzel-dough rolls and all the things I would like to eat for breakfast. The dumpstered bread looks wrong; I don’t know why but I don’t want to eat it.
So I go to another kitchen and take three eggs from the refrigerator. The eggs are from the chickens we live with, and there is dirt stuck in small clumps on the off-white shells. I haven’t eaten an egg in something like three years, and I am nervous. Maybe I won’t like the way they taste. Maybe they will hurt my stomach (there was, in those three years, one failed egg-eating attempt that ended in volcanic pain). Maybe, maybe.
I fry them over easy in margarine and eat them with ketchup and a heap of fried zucchinis leftover from the Vegetable Man (last week I bought a cabbage and our beloved Vegetable Man gave me a head of lettuce, six zucchinis, and seven or eight avocados—thanks Vegetable Man!), and they are delicious, all the more so because I know the chickens they came from.
Photo: Another Mainusch moment brought to you from Mr. Himmel. Yihaw.