Thursday, September 24, 2015

Corvallis: We're All Losing

                                           PHOTOS/EDITS BY RUTH RADER

It should have ended up this way...with a wink, a smile and a new beginning.


But the air turned cold, the clock in the courthouse tower stopped and a crime
was committed on the OSU campus.



You see, the city of Corvallis doesn't want to make too much of the assault on campus
because they don't like to air any dirty laundry in public. Nope, they don't.

Corvallis is a phony-tony community. And it wants to sweep everything
that's wrong into a dark corner...where it will hopefully disappear.

Yesterday, an older man drove me in a Dial-A-Ride kind of bus from a food pantry back
to the transit center. He is an individual that is filled with a mean brand of hate. And yesterday,
after I climbed into the van, I found out that he hates me.

And he let me know it. In no uncertain terms. Yes, he did.

Then, last night, I curled up in my thin sleeping bag and covered it with a small, peace-
symbol blankey. After I made my bed,  I was left to lay my head on a backpack and let my
sleepy eyes scan the park, the railroad tracks and the parking lot around me.

I lay there with no dignity and no peace of mind. I lay there alone.

No church group came by and took me to a comfortable, warm corner of their building for
the night. No night owl with a good heart took me to Shari's for hot coffee and an all-night

Nobody sat down on the bench next to mine, strummed a guitar and chased every bad
shadow away. No one pointed out stars and told me stories about the constellations. Nobody
prayed with me. And no one made me laugh.

No, not one person went out of their way to make me feel safe.

Last night I realized that this part of Oregon expects me to know my place. And the reason
that the van driver got so mad at me is because he thought that I crossed a line. In his mind,
I stepped over a border and expected him to provide a service that should only be reserved
for the gentry in Corvallis. Not me. No, never me.

So now I understand how this city really feels about me. And I know that because I am
homeless, it really won't matter to many here if I am dragged away by the same man who
assaulted that woman at the OSU campus.

In fact, I bet that if that guy grabs me tonight and never brings me back...the mayor will be
inclined to pin a medal on the pervert's shirt.

A woman walked up to me while I was listening to music in the transit center this morning.
She tried to put a folded-up dollar in my glove. I opened my eyes and gave her the money

I have decided that I truly don't understand the people here. And too few of the citizens
in Corvallis totally understand me.

Right  now, we are all losing.


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