(be warned: Site has embedded muic player that defaults to “On”; you can turn it off, if you like)
Thanks to the magic of television, I have just learned about this amazing couple based in San Francisco. They’re fruitarian, freegan, artists, and urban nomads and just amazing.
At least 80% of their possessions are scavenged, and according to their own website, most of what they do buy is purchased second-hand. Even the episode of National Geographic’s Taboo I first learned about them in, one of the academic panel brought in for a professional analysis of the behaviour, just commended them for their scavenger lifestyle, verbally applauding even the tiniest dent that they can make in reducing waste in this society.
I had to see if they had a website before the episode even ended, and I’m glad I found it. Everything they eat is scavenged. Most of their clothing is scavenged. They’re into ritual music and dance, and also energy and herbal healing, but will accept that modern medicine is an acceptable avenue if and when ritual and herbal medicines have failed. Their musical instruments are most, if not all scavenged —either as-is or scavenged and repaired or created.
The fruitarian thing was not a new concept to me. In fact, I’ve said that if it weren’t for the fact that I’m anaemic, and I physically cannot eat that much in one sitting without getting ill, I’d be not just veg*n, but fruitarian. I don’t see a huge difference when evaluating the life of a spinach alongside the life of a cow — and considering how many more spinach need to die to get the same amount of nutrients from a cow, it’s argueably more ethical to eat the cow, if one wants to bring up that whole “least harm principle”. And don’t try and lecture me about central nervous systems and sentience, either; animism is not only an historically valid aspect of Hellenismos, what with nymphai literally connected to every plant imaginable, thus meaning is a cow has a sentient spirit, so do the flowering plants, like broccoli, but recent studies published in peer-reviewed journals suggest that there is a scientifically measurable sentience in plant life. Thus, even if one is to remove spirituality from the equation, the only truly ethical diet is fruitarianism, eating that which a plant gives freely, as it’s designed to be eaten —and not just from centuries of genetic modification by human hands, but because that’s just how it is —shitting out seeds from eaten fruit is a far better fertiliser than simply letting the fruit rot where it falls. But, like I said, I have a lot of medical issues, and as of now, I’d rather take fewer pills and supplements than I’d need to to maintain myself on a strict fruitarian diet, even though I clearly believe it’s the most morally sound choice of diet.
Their scavenger lifestyle, I gotta admit, is something I both greatly admire, but am reluctant to. I’m in admiration for what should be obvious reasons, at this point, but my reluctance is very much tied to my own history. As I’ve said before, my father was a rag-n-bone man by trade, and this involved a lot of dumpster-diving —that’s right, hipsters, my father was doing that long before you decided it was “cool”. At some point, he decided that, while diving for scrap he could sell, might as well get anything else that was good. This is how my family had a microwave in 1987, on my mother’s RN salary, while my father was between construction gigs; he looked it over, realised it needed a bolt to keep the door on, tested it out in the garage, and then brought it into the house. A fair amount of the household’s furniture was salvage, either intact, or repaired, or built from salvaged bits. During any given week, between 20% and 70% of the groceries were dumpster-dived; we made a lot of preserves and had two huge chest freezers to accommodate any surplus. As much as I admire the salvage now, for ethical reasons, as a kid who’d already been branded “weird” on personality alone, this was just one more weird thing about me and my home life. Now, at first, I didn’t realise it was something that was so weird, I think I realised that most people didn’t scavenge (cos really, if everybody did, what would be left to scavenge?), but I was under the impression that it was generally accepted practise; I remember mentioning something about it at school, and in addition to unintentionally grossing out some classmates, my teacher that year decided it was something to be concerned over, and called social services to investigate the household, and after that, I got a pretty good talking-to about why I should never, ever, ever talk about the family’s dumpster diving again, or my sister and I would get taken away and put in foster homes or something. So yeah, it was pretty embarrassing, and I’m still trying to get over it. I think I’m at a point where, if I tried it myself or with a friend, I would finally be over it, but the nearest dumpster is behind a liquor store at the corner, and the cops are regulars at that corner due to prostitution, and most days, I’m in too much pain to mosey on over the the good spots all by myself.
The Taboo eppie stressed their matching outfits a little more than I can see on their website, but if memory serves me, Aloma did regard it as an important aspect of their relationship, as it gives visual aide to their connected spirits.
Just watching them, you can see so much love, like one soul in two bodies.