I’m not sure what kind of relationship is required to justify the term ‘friend‘. There’s a woman I encounter every Sunday and we often exchange greetings. She has a thick European accent of some sort and is rather focussed on her task, so we never talk much, but we have a definite connection. She comes, with her little dog and shopping trolley, to search through the dumpsters behind the green grocer/baker/take-away shops.
I’m not exactly sure what she looks for, but it’s part of the green grocer’s rubbish. On the other hand, I am there to search for discards from the baker. We both avoiding all those chicken carcasses and salad scraps from the take-away shop. You can see her in this picture looking on with a degree of curiosity (or is it suspicion?) as I take a picture of my dumpster. We have an unspoken agreement to mine our own territory and respect the other person’s claim.
[my ‘friend’ watches from her dumpster, while I investigate another]
I did well yesterday: two wholemeal sourdough loaves (which my older son enjoys), a fruit cob (of which my partner will partake), and a baguette-shaped wholemeal sourdough with sun-dried tomato, which is destined to be my weekend lunches for a couple of weeks.
[freegan bread from ‘my’ dumpster]
After retrieving my freegan bread I walked down the road a bit to Dose Espresso.
[my ‘friend’ the barista in Dose Espresso]
I budget for two coffee-shop coffees per week, and both of them are usually take-aways from here. Like most cafés, they ask the customer’s name and write it on the lid with the order (always a LB) when they take your order so they can call out to you when the coffee is ready. They quickly learnt both my name and my order, so we’re kind-of friends. They say hello Michael, when I arrive, and the barista will often start on my order when they see me walk in; before I’ve even paid. I have no idea what their names are, nor do I wish to develop any closer relationship with them, but I do very much appreciate the job they do and in my head they’re my ‘friends’.
I uploaded the bread photo today as I was preparing this blog entry and auntysocial commented on it. She’s a ‘friend’ on LiveJournal. Auntysocial and I have never spoken (she lives in Los Angeles, I live in Sydney). I know a little bit about her, though, as I’ve been reading her blog for years. I admire her work and definitely regard her as a real ‘friend’, even though we have a very limited relationship. We’ve both had periods during which we’ve retreated into our own worlds for various reasons, but our connection has remained.
On reflection (and this reflection was prompted, I think, by seeing the movie Still Life yesterday), these connections I have with various people are what sustains and feeds and nourishes me – even more than my freegan bread does.