Mystery of the Strewn Food

I sometimes walk the dog around the back of an apartment building a block or so from my house. I noticed at one point that there was food thrown across the grass at the corner of the building, next to the parking lot. Ew, I thought, and steered the dog around it. I didn’t think twice about it, and neither did the dog. That stretch of grass would have been completely off limits from then on had I been walking the beagle, but I digress.

I started noticing it was a trend, and I sort of wanted to see where this was going. I went by there again and again, and new and stranger foods started showing up. Corn cobs. Cut-up fruit. Plastic take-out containers full of ribs. RIBS. Plastic take-out lids full of LIQUIDS. Cereal. Torn-up bread. At first I was confused, and then I started getting angry. When I saw spaghetti thrown all over, that’s when the crazy became contagious and I started yelling things when I walked by. “Oh, SPAGHETTI today, huh? Yum!” “Ah, Froot Loops and melon and yellow baby tomatoes; it all makes sense now!” Whyyyyy? And then over the course of the last month or so I took photos.

20140710_174624 20140711_084307 20140714_082059 20140716_081311-EFFECTS 20140718_081414-EFFECTS 20140718_081436 20140719_175250-EFFECTS 20140723_083718-EFFECTS 20140723_174208-EFFECTS

I nearly recruited a full-blown investigational team after casually bringing it up in the work kitchen — everyone wanted to know what the food was about. Theories multiplied: Was it someone who really wanted to compost but didn’t know the first thing about it? Someone in an altered state of mind getting half way through a meal and ditching it? Someone whose spouse packed a lunch for him or her and they didn’t want to get caught not eating it? Someone feeding the birds? We thought we’d make a day of it, bring a cooler of beers, and interview the residents of the apartment building.

I got a little closer to my answer when I saw an older guy at his car, parked right next to the strewn-food location, sorting through a trunk FULL of recyclables. But it wasn’t until last week when one morning I had my visual confirmation. I rounded the corner with the dog and this guy walked past his car with a plastic cup and chucked its contents — a bunch of torn-up bread — into the grass. I watched; he saw me; we made eye contact; he waved.

I guess this dude just hates throwing things in the trash.



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