The Carefully Curated (Facebook) Life

Angie and I are following the coverage of Hurricane Irma with great interest. Many of our closest friends and former neighbors live in South Florida. Some are under mandatory evacuation orders and are scared they might not make it out in time due to traffic and gas shortages. Others are still trudging to work during the day and watching Netflix at night instead of the news. This is the way things work in the Sunshine State. For every person who is panicked, there are 6 others stubbornly clinging to the notion that this is just another storm and just another “day in the life of a Floridian”. I’m not here to judge. I’m here to pray that those six friends of mine are right and Irma loses steam somewhere out in the ocean.

When Irma hit Barbuda, Angie pulled out her phone to look up this tiny island.

“Have we been there?” she asked.

“I don’t think so.” I replied.

As Angie and I both thumbed through Facebook photos of our Caribbean adventures to see if we had ever been to Barbuda, a screen appeared offering various frames for your profile picture. Some offered an overlay of the state of Texas, showing support for those affected by Hurricane Harvey, and others added words like “United We Dream” and “I Stand With Dreamers” to show support for DACA. For a moment, I hovered over a few of these frames and then backed out of clicking on one.

This is not the first time that I’ve opted not to post (or like) something on Facebook. In fact, my personal Facebook page is so carefully curated that, aside from the photos, I’m not sure it even reflects who I am. Get this, there’s not even a link to this blog on my page! Why? Because I am the Switzerland of my Facebook community, the one person who takes a neutral position on all issues so that my other friends can firmly set up camp on both sides of the aisle, on every issue, all the time. How ridiculous is that? I’m gagging on my own words as I type them. It’s wonderful to be considerate of other people’s feelings but it’s equally as important to consider your own.

I’m not neutral when it comes to issues facing our community today (and by community, I mean the whole of humanity). I’m a freak when it comes to food waste. We dive in dumpsters for God’s sake! I’m anti-consumerism. So much so that I’ve been known to lecture my own family members for buying things they don’t need just to discard them a month later. And if you didn’t know this already, I’m a minimalist. I purposefully live with less for all sorts of wonderfully valid reasons…none of which I ever really share outside of this blog and it’s corresponding Facebook page.

I support immigration. I believe the entire world should be open to movement. Let people live and work where they feel called to be and in whatever abode they chose – be it a tiny house, RV, home in the hillside, yurt village, or city apartment. The fewer restrictions we place on others, the more opportunities we have for ourselves. But hey, that’s just my opinion…and one you won’t find anywhere but here.

I know exactly where most of my friends stand on politics, the environment, equality, immigration, and more. I know because they don’t hesitate when they hover over the “like” or “share” button. Does knowing their stance change my opinion of them? Not usually, though I do on occasion shake my head in wonder at how seemingly sane people can post such close-minded stuff sometimes. But I still love my friends. I still accept them for who they are – Democrat, Republican, Jesus Freak, Atheist, Socialist, Hippie, Baby Boomer or Millennial. I need to trust that they will do the same.

Curating one’s online presence is a difficult job that ultimately leaves everyone with only a one-dimensional view. I’m not advocating that everyone go out and use their social media platform as a soap box to air their grievances. In fact, I wish my niece would do a little less of that. I’m simply saying that it’s pointless to have a social media presence that is not reflective of who you are. As I look back through my years on Facebook, I see hikes and bike rides, kayaking trips and ocean cruises, cross-country moves, and a year of sampling craft beer in Colorado. What I don’t see is the soul of the person doing those things. And that needs to change.

If I looked at your Facebook page today, what would it say about you? Is it tailored to suit potential employers? Is it something your family would be proud of (in other words, do you limit what you say in order not to offend your family, like I do)? Or would I instantly know who you are from your posts and likes?

Advertisements

A Tally of February’s Food Finds

On February 1st, we went to a Lunch & Learn at the Nashville Public Library on the topic of food waste. Little did we know then just how “involved” we’d become in food recovery over the next 28 days.

When I wrote the post Did I See You in the Dumpster?, we had just learned that the grocery store next door was tossing hundreds of pounds of good food into the garbage each week. Despite our efforts to redirect them to better uses for their unsalable (though not inedible) food, nothing was done, and the dumpster continues to fill daily with slightly blemished or browning produce. And we continue to monitor – and glean – when we can.

To illustrate the problem of food waste in our community, I am posting a list of all the items we recovered in February. Remember, we are one couple, looking in one dumpster of one small grocery store, at a rate of 3-4 times per week, for a period of 28 days. We found:

  • 2 red onions
  • 1 bag green onions
  • 3 yellow onions
  • 3 zucchini squash
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 6 dozen + 3 individual eggs
  • 2 pineapples
  • 2 bags of celery
  • 6 ears of corn
  • 1 bag of baby lettuce (4 small heads)
  • 5 heads of iceberg lettuce
  • 12 oz. bag of organic kale
  • 14 blood oranges
  • 3 pounds of organic oranges + 13 individual oranges
  • 1 pint + 1 – 6 oz. container of blueberries
  • 2 – 6 oz. containers of blackberries
  • 5 pound bag of flour
  • 10 oz. bag of almonds
  • 2 bags + 1 head of broccoli
  • 1 bag of cauliflower
  • 1 loaf of 100% whole wheat bread
  • 6 pounds of Cuties (tangerines)
  • 2 – 10 oz. containers of organic grape tomatoes
  • 12 pounds of apples + 10 individual apples
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 5 cucumbers
  • 6 limes
  • 1/2 pound of asparagus
  • 8 1/2 pounds of bananas
  • 15 pounds of Russet potatoes
  • 5 pounds of yellow potatoes
  • 5 red potatoes
  • 1 1/2 pounds of mixed baby potatoes
  • 1 serving of organic red grapes
  • 5 1/2 quarts of strawberries
  • 2 pounds of organic baby carrots
  • 2 pounds of carrots
  • 6 Anjou pears
  • 4 red pears
  • 1 honeydew melon
  • 11 peaches
  • 1 unopened bottle of hand soap

Needless to say, we had a lot of salads this month!

All joking aside, this was just a fraction of what was sitting in the dumpster – good food going to waste because it’s not quite up to consumer standards. I just can’t for the life of me understand why this food isn’t marked down to quick sale or donated to our local food bank. God knows we have folks in need here! There’s always a line of people waiting outside the food bank every morning to receive a box of non-perishable goods. While that’s great, just think of how many lives could be changed for the better if they also had some of these fresh fruits and veggies in those boxes.

We fed 7 people (including ourselves) with our found foods in February – 3 of whom currently receive SNAP benefits and can’t always afford fresh produce. The highlight of this experiment was seeing a small child pick out a tangerine from the bag we handed her mother and immediately sit down on the sidewalk to eat it. Her face as she enjoyed this fruit that would otherwise have been forgotten was priceless.

I wasn’t sure when we started this adventure just how long we planned to dumpster dive but Angie says that she’ll keep going as long as there’s food; which has prompted to me to think a bit more about how we can help on a larger scale. We’re thinking about starting a food share network in our community – maybe a Facebook group or a Meetup group – where folks can share their found foods or foods they bought but can’t eat in time or extras from their gardens or orchards. I only have to think about my mom’s neighbor and his wasted garden or the hundreds of pounds of pears that he mulched last year to know that an abundance of food exists in our community. Someone just needs to connect it with people who will eat it…and maybe that’s us. At the very least, it is something to seriously think about.