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Disclaimer: If you are easily offended by sheer honesty, or you think me having my own opinions is "being negative", then this is not the place for you, and I suggest you leave and head elsewhere. I call a spade a spade, and I don't sugarcoat anything.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Help For The Homeless

I saw an article yesterday about a movement going on now in Astoria to put more restrooms out for the homeless in this town. They are thinking of putting more port-a-potties out so people who are homeless can have a place to go to the restroom after every other place is closed. Though there is a battle going on about that. Not many government officials in this town go for that idea because people tend to vandalize port-a-potties. I know I don't like using them because I've been to too many where people piss and smear shit all over the walls, floors and toilet seats. And there seems to never be any toilet paper in those doggone things!! There are public restrooms around, but my experience with the one in Seaside, it closes after midnight. So what if a homeless person needs to go after then?

Having been homeless now before, I know the feeling. I had to sleep in my car at night or during naps. I had to use the restroom wherever I could. Thankfully, I never took a dump outside! LOL! I made sure I emptied that chute before the stores closed. I remember one day, it was rainy and I had to put my lights on just to see through the rain. I was also very tired and trying to drive from Astoria to Seaside. But I stopped in Warrenton to have a bit of a nap before heading off to Seaside. But by the time I had parked in Warrenton's Costco, I had forgotten that I had my headlights on. It wasn't really dark at that time, so I couldn't see them very well. I just turned the car off and took a little nap for a while. When I woke up a couple hours later was when I noticed I had left my lights on. And I could not start the car. The battery had died! I went all through the parking lot and asked whoever I bumped into if they had any jumper cables. Not a single soul did! I couldn't believe it! It was raining hard at this time too. I had to go into the Costco to use the restroom. There was one guy I ran into and asked for help, and he did not have jumper cables but he thought he knew someone who had some, and he was going to get that person and be right back. That's what he told me. I waited and waited on his word, but I never saw him again. Either his friend didn't have the jumpers like he thought, or he just plumb forgot to ask. UGH!! So I was stuck there for the night. I shoulda known better than to trust the promise of a stranger!! Sometimes my idealisms about giving everyone a chance is more of a hindrance.

The problem with being stuck at Costco, as opposed to a later opened store such as Safeway, where I usually parked, Costco closes at 10PM. And that particular night, I had to wizz a lot!! I remember having to wizz on the pavement several times that night. It wasn't fun, but when you gotta go, you gotta go! And I was stuck there for the night. I had no choice. The next day was more clear and I was able to walk to this auto parts place a few blocks away and ask them if they would help me jumpstart my car. They obliged and I was back on my way to my usual parking spot in Seaside. I did not want to relive another day like that!!

Well, putting more bathrooms out and available at all hours would be a nice thing. But having suffered homelessness before, that really only solves half the problem. The other half is shelter. I slept in my car the whole time I was homeless. The car became my little house. At least I was out of the elements, it rains a lot in this area. Well, apparently sleeping in your car is illegal in this county. A person could get slapped with a fine of up to $700 if they are caught sleeping in their car. But I had no other choice. The shelter only allows you to stay for 3 days at a time. Then you have to leave for 4 days. What does a person do with a limited income for those 4 days? Remember, it's raining and cold out, and I am a lone, old woman. I refuse to sleep outdoors. I'm going to sleep where I am dry, warm and feel safe. All I had when I was homeless was my car. So, I slept in there. Well, one night I was caught doing that, and fined. I was livid! Thankfully, I wasn't charged a full $700. I was only fined $300. But still!! Tell me seriously, if I could afford a fine that large, don't you think I would have been able to afford a hotel room?! It's totally DUMB to charge a homeless person any amount of over $100!! THAT is the real problem! Get rid of that law! How is a lone old woman supposed to feel safe living in a tent? I like the rain, but I don't like it falling on me every night. I don't want to get mugged. I just want to be able to sleep when I am tired, and not have to keep one eye open while doing it. I am not used to that. So if you ask me, if you really want to help the homeless, get rid of that stupid law that says we cannot sleep in our cars!!
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