I’ve neglected this entry for too long, flashback to Thanksgiving 2007.
I laid back in the dentist chair, the witness light shining brightly in my face. He began jamming utensils in my mouth and asking me deeply personal questions.
“So how many brothers do you have?”
“Garble, garble flive brzzoszzthers.”
“Have they visited New Mexico yet?”
“Yessshh, dey came flor Thlanksgliving.”
He stopped for a bit and I described how my parents had come down with my little brother. One night, the parents were dropped off at a bed and breakfast.
“Oh really,” said the dentist. “I bet you two painted the town red then!”
I could see his imaginings of the booze infested debauchery that went on when two young brothers were released upon the town of Santa Fe. In his wistful glance I could sense he was hoping to hear a story of how we’d ripped the town from stem to sternum. But I couldn’t tell him the truth. I couldn’t tell him we’d visited the underbelly of town and rooted around its contents.
No, it was impossible to tell the dentist about our detour into freeganism. The waste in our country is absurd and the amount of perfectly good food tossed into landfills could feed a small nation. Why not take advantage of it. Freeganism involves a reduction in conspicuous consumption complimented by a hearty dose of dumpster diving (read more here). Two of my younger brothers are freegans, one from an moral perspective and the other more from an adventure perspective.
That evening, my brother had piqued the interest of me and the lovely Bree by waxing on about the exciting finds he had dug out of dumpsters. Intrigued, we decided to try it out in Santa Fe by the cover of night.
Would you like some fine breads? Well then stop by behind the Sage Bakery on Cerrillos after hours. How about some slightly past due veggies? Head on over to Wild Oats at Cordova and St. Francis. Don’t even bother going by Whole Foods. They ensure that their food is trashed and wasted by locking up all of their dumpsters securely.
The mother lode was at Trader Joe’s. Up until then, everything we had found was bits and pieces. Trade Joe’s had an entire cart of ripe bananas, rotisserie chickens, cookies and veggies, and food and food and more food.
Giddy with excitement we picked some choice entrees and desserts before being scared off by a truck coming in to unload and people moving around in the building. We got back in the car.
We drove home late at night and spread the bounty on the counter.
Which brings me back to the dentist. Though there should be no shame in eating food that might otherwise go to waste, I felt extremely uncomfortable with deflating the hyperinflated imaginings of my dentist with tales of me, my brother and my girlfriend digging in dumpsters.
So I did what I had to, I lied.
“Yeah, we went out to a bar,” I said hoping to keep things vague enough so I wouldn’t have to share details.
“Oh yeah, which one?!” he said cheerfully.
I was stuck, though I’d been in Santa Fe for nearly six months, I had rarely ventured out to any bars.
“Umm… the Matador,” I replied mentioning a bar I’d never visited but had heard was cool from several friends.
“Really, where’s that? I haven’t heard of it,” he asked as he began to take that crazy hook thing to my gums.
“Yessshhh, it’s dlowntown slomeshere,” I slurred and stumbled actually sweating as I lied.
The conversation continued and my lie continued to build. Since neither of us had ever been there, there was no way he could no I was lying.
After more than a year of harboring this secret in my soul, I now pour it out on this computer screen begging all three people who read this, please, if you decide to try the freegan lifestyle, don’t be embarrassed. And please, don’t lie to your dentist.
If you do, it will haunt you worse than the guilt you felt over those dirty thoughts you had when you were 12 while waiting for confession.