Lars Eighner’s article “One Dumpster Diving” is surprising for a number of reasons. In the first, when we throw something out, we usually consider it to be something that no longer has any value. We do not think about the lives that our garbage leads after it has been tossed. If we do imagine it, we imagine it is sitting on the mound of some great mountain of garbage in a dump. It surprised me to realize that there is a person, and actually a whole sect of people whose lives survive off what value they can get from what society has essentially deemed as valueless.
It was also sad to realize that this woman had not set out to do this, but came to it by necessity. Currently there is a lot of talk about what should be done to help the poor regarding health care. One political party seems to want to do more to help the others and I think that this article is proof that more should be done.
In learning that Lara was a homeless lady writing this, it was also surprising to read how articulate she is. I usually associate homeless people with crazy people who are on the street because they cannot survive in normal society. I wonder why if she can write so well about dumpster diving she cannot get a job as a writer. But I suppose that many times there are circumstances beyond people’s control. It does seem gross that someone would eat from a garbage can, but on the same note, Western society is very wasteful and we often throw out things that still have value to other people. I think the most powerful sentence of the piece is the admittance that “Yes, we ate from them.” That makes me realize how lucky I am in my own life not to have to resort to such lows.