Community Advocacy and Support by and for Young Mothers

Day in the life of a Silicon Valley Grrrrl Mom by Rebecca

Day in the life of a Silicon Valley Grrrrl Mom
by Rebecca

"Can we share?" I say to Hank. Obviously I'm overdressed for the occasion wearing a pink tanktop and sagging black military pants. He sizes me up wrong as we stand outside of Trader Joes, the California grocery store. He mistakes me for a yuppie. Which is what all the other people are who are outside of Trader Joes are. He mumbles something about being homeless. I jump in.

There are two dumpsters here by the entrance next to the shopping carts. SUV's are driving around looking for parking. Cute couples walk towards the entrance, avoiding looking in our direction. My friends who drove me here are buying schwill for their Stitch and Bitch knitting party tomorrow. My babe is with his pa for the few hours this week that his pa decides to be a dad.

I'm looking for a way to make my 80 dollars per month, after rent, last. I'm looking for a way to feed my growing-bigger-every-day kid. I'm looking for a way to not get another temp slave job in silicon valley. I'm looking for a way out of this suburban haze. I'm looking for a free lunch in the dumpster of Trader Joes. And you know what? Its always there. Free Food. And all I gotta do is go dumpster diving.

Its about 4 o'clock. Already the dumpster is full of bread. But I've gotten a bit of a dumpster snob. Free Day old Bread is readily available anywhere. I haven't bought bread in years. I'm looking for goodies. Like the unopened bottles of organic fresh squeezed juice. Or the packaged soft chocolate chip cookies.

I dig around some more, lifting boxes and moving away slimy trash bags. Hank is standing around the perimeter of the dumpster. I hand him some cheese. "Here, you want it?" I say. I know that Hank's probably far worse then I am. I 'clean up real nice,' you know? I pass for a Stanford studentif I try. Which is good, because I am a Stanford student.

Anyways, I keep handing Hank all the good things that I needed when I was traveling and homeless. I'm persuading Hank to take the fresh vegetables, milk, organic whole wheat bread, and cheese. He just wants the meat. I'm hoping that I can improve his diet. Maybe get him to eat something that has nutrients and calories in it. He just wants the meat.

I draw the line at meat. I know this might sound strange that after climbing through a dumpster that I'd say something is gross, but raw meat from the trash is dangerous. I will eat eggs. Milk if its cooked. But not meat. Too risky. I'm trying to convince Hank not to eat raw ground beef from the dumpster. I lose the argument. Hank rips open the package of raw beef and shovels a few handfuls in his mouth. So much for E Coli.

So, I see that I have gathered more then I can fit in my fridge. And I start piling stuff into a shopping cart for transit back to my friends car. By this time a store employee gives me the 'look'. The look that says "I'm not quite sure what to make of this cute white girl mucking around in our trash." If he's a manager, he'd probably will come over and start bothering me about how I might get sick and lawsuits and yada yada. But today, I just nod to the employee and say que honda? what's up? He gives me a wink permitting me to go on my way. Hank has taken off after giving me a few of his words of wisdom: "don't be a wino." I hope he'll be okay. I figure he's a survivor.

I don't give much thought to the fact that I'll be a wino anytime soon. Hopefully I'll finish school though. And get a job and not hafta sell my soul to make enough money to support my kid. And then I can stop going through the trash. Either that or maybe this fucking hegemonic system-the one that says that poor people don't deserve to eat, or have a roof over our heads- will fall apart.

Wanna know something funny though? As I was leaving the store, this ultra yuppie chick comes out, you know with all her shopping bags and her Gucci clothes. And she's like "what's all this?" At first I'm a bit flustered thinking she's going to whip out her cell phone and call the police who'd arrest me for being poor or something. But I play it cool. I tell her that the store is throwing all this great food away. And I hand her a loaf of bread that I had taken from the dumpster. And she says 'Wow! Thanks!'