Morning Watch Craziness
It's been a couple of busy mornings in downtown Seattle. Yesterday Tim and I spent the first half of our morning helping one of our friends get ready to go to the shelter for breakfast. She has a lot of odds and ends to her name and they took a while to wrangle. Among the belongings, unfortunately, were several hypodermic needles, at least one of which had some substance inside it still. It was not surprising to see this, especially knowing this lady a bit, but it was the first time I'd seen it. I was mostly shocked at the number of uncapped needles she had around her. I don't understand how she can sleep there without rolling over and getting poked, but I guess in whatever state she was in when she went to bed, cleaning up wasn't a priority.
Regardless, she was in a good, active mood - definitely not always the case - and wanted to go to breakfast at the shelter so we spent an hour helping her clean her area and pick up her things. The need for a sharps container in the van became immediately apparent and that's something that will hopefully be taken care of soon as we can't dispose of needles in the trash without imposing significant risk on those people who have to deal with said trash later. The rest of the morning was less eventful though we did meet another couple that we took to breakfast.
Today was crazy. We ended up taking one couple and two other people to breakfast, dropping off almost 10 cups of coffee and taking someone that needed medical attention from the shelter to Harborview. We've been introducing ourselves to police officers along our way so that they know about our program and can offer it as an option for the homeless people they wake up every morning.
During one of our stops at the shelter this morning we saw Larry again; the gentleman that we tried to drop off at a truck stop south of Seattle last week. Unfortunately it looks like he didn't find the ride he was looking for :( but he was still grateful for our attempt.
One young man we picked up today from under the viaduct was a little eccentric. He has been on the streets for the past four months, hitchhiking from the east coast. He walked barefoot, carrying his shoes in his hand. He told us that he had to make some shoes out of cardboard yesterday so that he could use the library because they wouldn't let him in without shoes, but today he had real shoes that he apparently just didn't feel like wearing. While we drove him to the shelter he said something that offered a different perspective. He said that because of the massive waste produced by the US in general, he felt there was a "dignity" to surviving off of that trash. In a way I can see his point: far from creating more waste, you're actually reducing it by the smallest margins, but I told him that I was satisfied by minimizing the waste that I produce and he didn't seem to judge me too harshly.
We ended the morning as we do most mornings, at the waterfront with David, Huey and the totem pole that's being carved in the memory of John Williams. Tomorrow (6/3) I hope to take some friends of mine from work down to the waterfront for lunch and to check out the totem pole. We'll probably be down there at around 1pm if anybody'd like to join us. It is quite a thing to see the totem pole in progress. They are putting it up at the Science Center sometime in August, but now's your only chance to see it unpainted and only partially finished. I highly recommend you check it out if you have the chance, it's always there on the dock just south of the Aquarium in Waterfront Park.