Sunday, January 22, 2012

   So, I've started writing up my thoughts and comparisons of Mission Impossible 4: Ghost Protocol and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (I know, right?) a couple of times now and I keep losing interest. Sorry about that.

But this happened...

   About once or twice a week I go on these little Fruitthievery™ expeditions where I walk around for a few hours collecting fruit. What one Paul f. Tompkins bit calls "migrant worker fantasy camp". At this point, you can call me cheap and you wouldn't be wrong. You can buy oranges for practically nothing just about anywhere out here. But there's benefits other than the six bucks I might've saved.

   For one, the best tasting fruit is stolen fruit, ask anyone. Despite the name, though, Fruitthievery™ is primarily taken from public or college lands that encourage people to help themselves. Even though what I'm doing is completely legal there's something about walking around on private property and harvesting fruit that gives it a sinister feel. and that always tastes better than something you bought in a store. Or ,in the case of many southern Californians, a freeway off-ramp.

   Another benefit is that the town we live in has fruit trees everywhere. The above map, taken from Fallen Fruit*, shows a small corridor on the college campuses nearby and what grows where, or what did. Sadly, a lot of construction has rendered this map nearly unusable. Still, there's plenty of other sources and I like to find them on my own just by walking around. Ever since a particularly intense night during college** I've made it a point to be able to recognize any spot on the ground within 2-3 miles of where I live. That sounds easy, but you'd be amazed at how many people take stuff like that for granted. Even if you walk a lot, you might not make it down certain alleys or through patches of trees. I try to as much as I can. Which means sometimes you find yourself potentially trespassing or walking through an elementary school by yourself like a weirdo, and it's times like those helps to be carrying a sack of grapefruit.

   Today, for instance, I found myself crouching in some bushes on an all girl's college campus.

   Let me back up a little bit. The campus is part of a much larger combined campus, so it's not like I was like hanging from a tree with binoculars in a convent or Themyscira or something. Still, it doesn't make me any less self-aware of what I'm doing or how I'm doing it. So yeah, I found a tangerine tree (which I haven't seen as many of) and it was ripe and plentiful with fruit. So I sort of half-climbed it and started filling up the bag I had wrapped around my shoulder. Normally it takes me no more than 2 minutes to get what I need, but tangerines are different in that I like to eat and juice them. Oranges and grapefruits I always juice. So I took my time up there.

   Of course, when I had gone up the tree, there was nobody really around. What I realized was that in the 5 minutes I had climbed into it, the surrounding area filled up with a bunch of people. There was some sort of event going on that people were gathering for, and while I'm sure they saw movement in the tree, I'm assuming they thought it was a squirrel or something not a grown-ass man. And I started panicking.  

   What if they never disperse and I'm up here all day!? (Okay, I definitely didn't think the word "disperse"). But at some point I realized that I had to get out of there, embarrassment be damned. So I dropped myself down out of the branch I was standing on.

   Or at least I meant to. What actually happened is that my shoe was sort of wedged in a forked branch and so while most of my body dropped down three feet or so, my foot rose up to slightly above waist level. It was about as comfortable as you can imagine. Also, since my "drop" didn't go as well as hoped, I had to keep holding on to the tree to keep balanced. Which made a lot more noise than I would've thought. Instead of feeling awkward in front of a few people, I ended up looking  awkward in front of a significantly larger crowd.

   After some clumsy maneuvering I managed to free my foot, pick up my bag of tangerines (which had begun to spill on to the ground did I not mention that?), and half mumble before walking off briskly. All in all, I got a whole bunch of tangerines, a weekly supply of oranges, some kumquats and some limes.

I'm not sure if I should start buying my fruit or touch up on my tree-climbing skills.

*Check that site to see if there's a map for your neighborhood!
**I don't think I've told this story here. I also don't think I ever will. It involves me getting lost and taking an entire neighborhood's Sunday morning papers. Ask me about it in person sometime.


clickie said...

A few years back, my friend Christine and I used the Find Fruit app on her iPhone to find stuff in Claremont. Unfortunately, it was summer and pretty much all the fruit we could find were loquats. What the hell do you do with those? It would probably be way more effective right now.

Cotton said...

the last time I got a bunch of Kumquats, I didn't know what to do with them. But the Cheese Cave girls wanted to brine them and turn them into spread or something? I don't know, but I still haven't eaten a one.