Friday, December 16, 2016

Home Where I Belong

                                PHOTOS/EDITS BY RUTH RADER

I need to go home. I don't just want to go home...I need to.

At 7am this morning, I walked my wheeler out the front door of the church building where
I slept last night. Where I barely slept.

The rule at the Hood River Warming Shelter (a roving encampment that rotates to a different 
location every week) is that everyone has to leave the building at 7am. No one is allowed to
return until 6pm that night.

And during that 11-hour span of time, I am on my own.

This morning, the temperature was 25 degrees above zero here. That might not sound too bad
but it felt colder after I sat outside in it for an uninterrupted 2 1/2 hours. Oh, yes it did!

The National Weather Service is forecasting that tomorrow morning's 7am
temperature will be 13 degrees above zero. To make the situation even worse, the local bus
service won't operate tomorrow, either.

And so I will be facing a cold morning with my walker/wheeler and because of a steep grade
hill (that will be snow-covered and very slippery) I won't be able to go anywhere to get warm.
It will be impossible to get anywhere by myself. And right now, it looks like no one cares
enough to properly intervene.

I cannot roll my walker/wheeler through the freezing air all the way to the library tomorrow.
And even if I did (which would be impossible for me to do) there would be no one to drive
me back up the winding hills to the church at 6pm tomorrow night. So...what am I supposed to do to resolve this impending problem?

I have called the City Manager of Hood River and asked him to pull some strings. I will also send an S.O.S. to the people who are supposed to be directly involved with the Warming Shelter program.

If nobody steps in by this evening, I am going to attempt to hitchhike up the hill. Yes, people, at 7am tomorrow morning I will wrap myself up in blankets and park my wheeler by the road. Then I will put my thumb out and see what happens.

That action will be outrageous. But that activity might end up being my only option.

It will all come down to who gives a damn.

I shouldn't be writing about this today. I should never have to think about this at all.

I need a ride up a hill to the hospital where I have permission to remain for the day. Or I need a
ride down here to the library. And in the cold darkness tomorrow evening, I will need a ride again.

If I had a properly established tiny house, I would be warm tomorrow morning. I wouldn't have to
go anywhere.

I'd be home...not just for Christmas...but home where I belong.



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