Thank you for Not Needing Food

I looked out my window into the alley this morning after hearing rummaging in the dumpsters.

I thought it was probably the Can Man who comes through with his shopping cart on recycling day to beat the big blue trucks out of three bucks worth of soda cans.

It was not the Can Man.

I looked from the third floor to see a different man climbing into one of the large dumpsters down on the ground.

He had all three dumpsters propped open and was sorting through all the trash systematically with a flashlight in his mouth and a large cardboard box on the ground for selected findings.

He was coughing and tossing things from one dumpster to another while occasionally putting something into the box.

Someone came out of the apartment building across from mine with a bag of trash and threw it into the dumpster next to the man as he was crawling around in it.

Then, they just walked away down the alley like they saw strange men in the dumpster every morning.

My heart sunk.

I opened my window and called down to the man “ Excuse me! Are you looking for something specific?  If you’re looking for food I can just bring you down some things.”

The man looked up at me from inside the dumpster  “Me?”

“Yes” I called back “Do you need food or something?”

“Oh, no thanks Ma’am I’m just looking for a coffee table that I lost.”

Even though this confused me, I was a bit relieved that he wasn’t hungry while he was out there in the rain and cold looking for “a coffee table”.

He’s gone now and the sun is coming up.

I wonder how many people in this lovely town are rummaging in the dark for a coffee table while people just keep dumping trash next to them as though it’s part of our culture.

Unfortunately, I think that IS part of our culture.

I am thankful he didn’t need food.

But I wonder if there is a better way for us to meet his “coffee table” needs.


~ by leakelley on March 3, 2008.

3 Responses to “Thank you for Not Needing Food”

  1. Greetings. I just stumbled across your blog, but the account that you tell of depicts the hearts of many these days; that someone would dump trash on this guy as though he wasn’t there. It’s great that you took a moment to offer assistance.

  2. Different dumpster divers might specialize in different types of discarded stuff. Your guy might, for example, have been looking for copper, which is fetching higher prices these days.

    We had a case here where new construction in the ‘burbs was broken into. The thieves removed all the copper pipes — i.e. cut through the drywall and used torches to cut the pipe itself.

    The coffee table response was probably his all purpose non-threatening explanation. Anyway, you’ve reminded me that I need to include some dumpster diving observations on my blog.

  3. You asking if he needed food says a lot about you, Lea. Good things.
    I’m glad to “know” you.

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