I woke up really late today for no apparent reason, and bumbled around the house a bit. La Serpiente and I had a game of backgammon and I decided to go easy on her, making a couple of deliberate tactical errors. As a result, she beat me without me getting a single counter off the board: I don’t like playing too softly for fear it will make her think it’s easier than it is, but she needed to get a win after a long time without victory.
As it was Sunday, I had to go down to the homeless outreach. I had a quick bite to eat before heading out, then zoomed down at regular speed to the location.
There’s two locations we serve; a group of tents under the freeway near the Rainier brewery, and a number of RVs parked a mile from there. The first location is less transient than the second; after a few weeks you recognise most of the people living there, whereas the RV encampment seems to have different people every week. That presents different issues: one of the most common requests is for propane for heating, but whereas it’s usually clear at the freeway site that people will be there to pick it up, a lot of the requests at the RV site are from people who aren’t there on consecutive weeks, so there’s oversupply, and then there’s the question of whether to give the propane to other people asking for it, or hold on for the people you thought were coming for it.
On top of that, there’s more doing to explain why we’re there. At the freeway, people know we’re there, understand a bit about how to request things and the limits we have. The second site requires more explaining to more people every time we’re there. That’s a necessary thing to do, rather than some complaint that people aren’t grateful in the way you want them to be, but it’s an extra cost of time.
As to why it’s like that, I don’t know – are there subtle differences between the people in RVs vs the ones living in tents further from buildings? I think the tented group are generally a bit older than the RV contingent, but I couldn’t say if that was the main difference between them.
Also, I got lost getting to the second area, but that’s squarely on me for not being good at navigation. Maybe that colours my view that I should be more stressed around RVs than tents…
I drove back, picked up a library book, listened to the Seahawks doing their best to lose a match before coming back to win by a decent margin, and then when I got home the girls demanded to ride their bikes. I fetched them from the slightly damp basement and they rode around the park until they were cold, and that was most of our day. And so to bed.