An unexpected dinner

Meals for Thieves

In Oakland. Every night cars are broken into. My van was broken into twice this year. My experience of people who've had break-ins is: they often feel discomfort, invaded, or they get mad.

While these feelings are totally reasonable, now I invite you for a moment to feel something differently. In this world, you get to decide how you feel towards others and what you do. That's the fun part!

I have some empathy towards the thief archetype. Their process includes an unknown search, surprise of discover, and relief of getting away. While sometimes disruptive to the property owner, their struggle is real, and they come from circumstances that you'll likely not know. Whatever their reasons that got them into this life position, they could always use a delicious meal!

This is a meal I prepared with love: Savory Quinoa spaghetti vegetable medley, honeyed yams, curry polenta & manchego on crispy grainbread. Dear thief, I hope this meal entered your body with compassion & kindness, & good luck in this wild wild world!

Meals for Thieves

Meals for Thieves No.2 (Shared Meal

Meal: Lemongrass Salmon curry with Sri Lanken cashew rice medley. Location: Deep West Oakland.

Now here’s the fun part: So since this is a meal that doesn’t stay good long in open air, I wanted to have an experience that could happen within a couple hrs. So I sealed the dish in plastic wrap & left the side-door open. I also wanted to share the meal with the person without them knowing I was there, so I made a trap-door hidden area in the van, where I hid, with an identical meal, waiting for them to arrive.

What happened: I could hear the crispy sound of footsteps against the sidewalk throughout the night, One set of footsteps stopped at the van, and after about a minute someone entered inside the vehicle at around 3:50 am. They ruffled through a few things inside the car and then took a seat. When I heard the sound of their fork hit the dish, I began eating my meal as well, together with the person. I was careful to not make any sounds, and just listened carefully while we both ate. They hit the fork against their teeth with ever bite, though no smacking sounds, chewed with their mouth closed, but several deep sniffing sounds, and deep breathing. They ate quickly, but were patient between bites. After a few minutes they sat up, and left the van. The crispy footsteps receded into the night.

I’m aware that I'm an artist with the creative luxury to design an experience. And this person is unknowingly involved in that experience. And through these conditions of my desire to feed and their desire to eat, we share this meal, and this space, together.