Monday, 7 May 2012

I am a scavenger.

At university, my friends and I used to joke that we had to go scavenge for food in the cafeteria.  Not everything they served was edible.  If you have eaten in school cafeterias you know what I'm talking about.  Sometimes the only things that looked edible were the desserts, other days it was cereal for dinner and some days you had to choke down something before you had time to wonder what it was actually made of.    I have to say, if you can keep an entire table full of intelligent people guessing at the contents of your dish you have skills.  Perhaps not the set of skills I would recommend as necessary for being a cook, but nonetheless an impressive set.  Although we did often amuse ourselves at guessing ingredients, it was not always a joking matter.  Scavenging was what we termed the desperate search for real food that often led to an assorted plate of things you found edible.  Usually it meant not eating the main dishes that were being served and instead returning with a collection of gummy bears, gold fish crackers or if you were lucky fruit that you found on the salad bar or hidden by the sandwich stuff. 

It wasn't all bad.  We had fun with even this sad lot in life.  We took the song savages from Pocahontas and gave it our own lyrics. "Scavengers, scavengers barely even eating.  Scavengers, scavengers through the caf we're creeping." The frequent presence of gummy bears at our table led to the creation of Gummy Bear Theatre.  We adapted Shakespearean plays and large historical events and had them performed by Gummy Bear Theatre.  It may have looked something like this.
Button with Gummy Bears acting out Ceasar's death
The best one was probably our highly fictionalized retelling of Hannibal's crossing of the alps with elephants in tow.

Apparently I was destined to take scavenging to another level as a post grad.  I often found that I didn't have time to do proper shopping trips.  So I had to scavenge in my cupboards for things that could be eaten together.  It was not uncommon for me to have peanut butter and jelly but no bread, cereal but no milk, and pasta but no sauce.  I did try to get food but studying just ate up my life.  What kicked me out the door and into the grocery stores though was the lack of chocolate.  Realizing this about myself I had to limit the amount of chocolate I bought at one time.  This way I would have to go out to buy it more often and then be out to buy more real food too.

Now that I have graduated I seem to do better about buying food regularly.  Yet, last night I managed to take scavenging to a whole new level.  I have progressed further into my scavenger lifestyle by moving on from food.  I now collect things.  A few days ago I noticed a table out on the street with the trash bins.  I was too tired at the time to really think about it.  A few more days of passing by it had given me time to contemplate the table sitting on the sidewalk.  That poor three-legged table was going to be thrown away.  What a sad fate.  How could somebody waste such a perfectly good three-legged table?  Well, last night I was sitting in my room thinking that I could use a little table for craft projects.

So, I put on my coat and shoes and went out to the street just behind my house.  I rescued that three-legged table from it's sidewalk grave.  I was undeterred by the slugs that had already decided to make it their home.  I brought it home and cleaned it thoroughly.  I resurrected it from useless discarded furniture to craft table.  Where better to create things then on a three-legged table?  If it can be rescued, if it can still work then there is no limit to what can be repurposed.  And if I get a little paint or glue here or there, what matter?  That is what it is there for and it will only add to its character.

I had better go do crafty things before I decide to start scavenging for more things.

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