Yeah, so, remember that homeless trailer next to my office? It’s still there.
They’ve been living there all summer.
It’s an older man and woman living there. They are collecting more stuff, and the encampment is getting bigger and bigger. Hell, they are painting the trailer! Yep, they are fixing it up.
The Oakland PD has been called several times. I’ve even tweeted to the police and the City of Oakland about it. Spoiler alert: They could care less. I actually saw a police car slow down and look at the trailer and then keep on driving. The trailer’s tenants haven’t harassed anyone that I know of, but I’ve been told that they are using the side of our building as a toilet, which isn’t very neighborly. I just stay away from that side of the building now.
The homeless trailer is set up where I park my car, so I walk by it twice a day. The residents and I exchange hellos. Recently, I started giving them food. It’s not much: mainly fruit.
Last week, I was walking to my car with a bag containing bread, cheese and crackers. Good buddy Corso was coming over for a wine and cheese dinner, and I had bought supplies on my lunch break.
The homeless man was standing outside his trailer. We exchanged hellos, and then he asked if I had any food.
Me: “I’m sorry. I don’t have anything today.”
Man: “That’s OK. I’m so hungry, though.”
I got into my car, feeling like the biggest jerk on the planet. I had a bag of food, and I just lied to him. He’s really hungry, not like me and my “I had a light lunch and now it’s almost dinner and I’m hungry.” He’s really hungry.
Feeling like a terrible person, I got home and took a few things out of the pantry and put it in a bag by the front door.
The next morning I stopped by the trailer and handed them the bag with a few things in it (mainly nuts and some crackers that Calvin doesn’t really like). Still overcome with the guilt of lying about having food yesterday, I then reached into my tote bag and handed them my breakfast, which was a peach and an apple, and then I opened my wallet and gave them a few bucks because the food truck was there, and they could get a sandwich or something. They were thankful, and the woman ran with the money to the food truck. The man thanked me, and I replied, “You’re welcome. I hope you have a good day.”
The next day, I was walking to my car, but the homeless couple wasn’t there. A different man was at the trailer, and it looked like he was going through their trailer. I had no idea if he was a friend of theirs, or if he was another homeless man who was robbing them and taking the few things they had managed to collect. I made eye contact with him, and he gave me a head nod acknowledging me. He looked rather shifty to me.
I walked to my car thinking, “He is totally robbing them, but I can’t call the police, because what am I going to say? ‘Hello, Oakland PD. The homeless couple that you refuse to acknowledge is being robbed. Hurry!’”
I felt protective of them, like I would my neighbors at home, so I guess we’re neighbors now.