On Dumpster Diving
Although people have different backgrounds, human nature runs in patterns. Dumpster divers were afraid at the beginning to be seen scrounging around dumpsters. They were disgusted at the thought of getting dirty by jumping to the bottom of a dumpster. People are always trying to cover up their imperfections. They don’t want people to see that they don’t have it all together all the time. The dumpster divers were ashamed of being who they were. Likewise, middle income families buy houses and cars outside their budget to make themselves look like they are better than they really are. They are ashamed to accept reality. Eighner is not ashamed of his living situation. He accepts what he is and decides to make the most of it.
In the essay, he describes being a veteran of dumpster diving. Diving only for the needs he requires and nothing more. He says that many reach a phase to where all things, because they are free, become valuable. Even others collect cans to sell. He has observed situations where the idea of holding dollar bills brings comfort; many collect cans every day only to gain a few dollars. For example he writes that, “Can scroungers, then, are people who must have small amounts of cash” (Eighner 153). He values only what he needs in a more practical sense. The only items worth collecting to him are blankets thrown out or shoes. If not kept he would lay them out in visible sight, possibly for others, in order to avoid mucking them up. I liked this perspective because it shows the realities of living on the streets.
I like Eighner’s stand-off perspective on the world. He has a clearer picture of what is truly important because he is not enthralled by pointless worldly goods. Dumpster divers realize the unimportance of items, and they realize that there is always more stuff where that stuff came from. In reality, the ones to feel sorry for are the people who are constantly chasing after material