Podcast Season 2: Hunger & Resilience

S2: Episode 17 - Dinah

Episode Information

[Intro Music]

Narrator:  Welcome to Hunger and Resilience, narrative histories about the complexity and experiences of hunger. A traveling exhibition and weekly podcast edited and hosted by Michael Nye, supported by the San Antonio Food Bank, Eric Cooper, executive director. We are grateful for the honesty and eloquence of every voice. Episode 17, Dinah.

Dinah: Back in the fifties, I grew up around rubber and I had some rubber beach balls and rubber playground balls, and then it led into rubber, inner tubes. My family, we’d used to go down to the beach every summer and I’d play with my inner tube. I’d go out into the ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and I’d let the tide roll me in, and it was so fun. I, I’m, I’m obsessed with inner tubes. When I grew up, I was not allowed to carry inner tubes around in public because, you know, my mother was kind of strict about that. She thought it was very embarrassing because, you know, nobody caress an inner tube around their neck in public. So I guess in a way, I’m unique. I got a room full of inner tubes and tires. I even go out on the streets and pick up old ones that have holes in ’em. I give ’em a good home with me. I’m very sentimental over tires and tubes. Why? I don’t know. It’s just, I guess it’s part of my childhood days and part of my mental illness.

I’m proud of myself for keeping a job and earning, earning a little bit of my own, spending money a hold, a hold store, signs on street corners. It’s promoting the sales of furniture. I hold it up in the air on a stick, a long stick, and put it on the ground. They pay me $35 a day. What I really love to eat is chocolate mint ice cream. I love cottage cheese and soup, sometimes soup if I can afford it. And, um, mashed potatoes, much real tasty. Cheeses, tacos, tamales, just about everything. That’s Mexican. But I don’t like rice. After a while, it gets old hat, you know, you know, it’s like going around in circles. I like to have a little variety in my foods. I sometimes it gets to where I can’t afford to buy food. One summer I was so poor, I had to buy dog and cat food because I had run out of food stamps. I ate it. I took it to my apartment and nothing happened to me. I didn’t get sick. So now, instead of doing that, I go dumpster diving.

I feel that some people haven’t been kind to me in the past. Nobody’s ever really liked me. When I was in school, they always told me I was ugly because my hair was not brushed. Right? And I don’t know, for some reason, I have a bitterness in me. And I put myself down because I have low self-esteem. Now. I just get depressed and, and, uh, and I lock myself in my apartment. Last time I went dumpster diving was last week. I think I found some old chicken bones, but there was hardly any meat on it. But I mostly sucked on the bones to get the taste, get the flavor. Sometimes I eat bits of hamburger, uh, that people eat. Sometimes I eat the crumbs that are left in the box. But people give the, give me the glare they give me, oh, shame on you. You’re not supposed to doing that. And it’s none of their business ’cause it. ’cause if I’m hungry, I’m hungry. In January on my birthday, I bought me two great big old tractor tires and te tractor tires. They have rusted rims, rusted wrought iron rims and wheels, and the tires are in still good condition. I don’t know, I just feel comfortable with them. I feel safe because if I run across some people that don’t like me, then to hell to heck with them, I make my own friends by making friends with inner tubes and tires.

[Outro Music]

Host:  This is a weekly podcast narrative histories about the experience of hunger and resilience, and of understanding. These narratives are also about not forgetting. What does it feel like to be that person? May something in Dinah’s story stay with you. I’m Michael Nye. You can go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for portraits and transcripts. Every person, every place is a map to somewhere else