It’s been snowing for the past ten hours, and the streets are a mess. You might be thinking, “Oh, you guys get snow all the time in Duluth. It’s fine.” But this is not our usual fluff. This stuff is heavy. And slippery. My mom and I had to take a rather large detour to get back up the Hill after driving downtown and finding that my ACT class had been cancelled. The weather outside is frightful, and most people do, in fact, have places to go, since it’s a Thursday evening.
Anyway, the quinzhee’s still holding up fine. The roof’s sagging a bit, but I doubt I’ll be using it for much longer. Since there’s not much new to say about today or the rest of this week, I’m going to use this post to tell a story from the summer.
Last July, my mom, dad, and sister piled into our little Toyota Corolla for a tent camping trip out west. We went all over the place, but the most interesting night was north of Salt Lake City, Utah, when we couldn’t find a campground with an open site. So, my parents found a Days Inn, booked the room and started bringing gear upstairs. Meanwhile, I approached the desk clerk. “Umm… I’m trying to sleep outside every night this summer. My parents have a room upstairs, so do you think I could sleep outside in the grass by the parking lot?”
He stared at me for a minute or two. “Sure. Let me know if you need anything.” So, I was set. I went upstairs to take a shower, I watched TV for a bit, and then walked out to the car to get my stuff. The first thing I noticed when I walked into the parking lot, (and I’m not trying to be stereotypical here, I’m just saying what I saw), was a pair of shirtless, tattooed men leaning up against a pick-up with a couple beers in hand. They didn’t give me so much as a glance as I skirted around them with my sleeping bag and pad, (in fact, I don’t even think they saw me )but they did make me a little nervous. I put them out of my thoughts and set up under a tree at the edge of the lot. I was asleep instantly.
When I awoke later, it took me a moment to figure out why. Then I realized the outside of the sleeping bag was drenched. My face was being peppered with water droplets. Almost immediately, the kindly hotel clerk was standing over me, saying, “Sorry! I forgot to tell you about the sprinklers!” After that, he helped me relocate to a spot where there were no sprinklers. The rest of the night was fitful at best. I was now very close to a major road of some sort, and people kept walking past me thirty feet away on the sidewalk. I was behind some bushes, but I was still a little uneasy. When morning finally came, I was tired and relieved.
That experience was one of the reasons I decided to help Habitat for Humanity. If you would be scared to do what I did on that July night, click the donation button at the top of the page. I was fine, but not everyone is so lucky.
My parents will write about their perspective for the next post.