A fog had settled on us overnight, so dense that we couldn’t see across the street when we woke up. I stumbled around, eventually going out to pick up biscuits and coffee, and did little else this morning apart from call my parents back in London. Perhaps I was worn out from the psychic load of unboxing things yesterday.
As it came to lunchtime, I headed off to the Fred Meyer supermarket and bought water, oranges and granola bars, then drove down to the homeless outreach on Airport Way.
The weather had cleared up by then, which was a mercy. I think three out of four times that I’ve been there, the skies have been blue and the air has been clear. There were fewer people around today, both from the encampment under the freeway, and volunteering to help out. Was that the weather?
I’m recognising a few of the people more now. There’s some who are always cheerful, others who come across as utterly pissed off all of the time. If I lived in a tent under a freeway, I doubt I’d have the sunniest of temperaments. I’m not sure how to respond to some things though; even little stuff like whether one should help somebody to carry heavy things back to their tent (because it’s a lot to carry) or of that comes across as forcing help upon them.
At one encampment, there’s no residential area close by; there’s the road, a brewery down the street, and warehouses. At the second place we visited, it’s a cluster of RVs and tents, on the sidewalk next to some houses. At that point, NIMBYism can start to kick in; am I comfortable helping out, because it’s not outside my front door? Would I be acting the same way if there was a person living in a tent outside our house? I don’t know. I do know that as it gets colder and wetter, things are likely to be grimmer for people, so I should be doing what I can to help. I’m also divided on what help is; long term, what should we be doing to help people to get into permanent accomodation? Is that even the goal I should be thinking about?
I drove home, got more coffee, and the kids gibbered and raved until we put them to bed. Tomorrow, I help a friend out by driving him to his first day of his new job; so even on a day off, I have to get up early. I guess that should validate I’m doing something right for the people around me. It also validates buying a coffee grinder …