I was sleeping in a nice secluded spot in Nanaimo, where you wouldn't expect anybody to know that there was somebody in the car. At 3: 30 a.m., a girl knocked on the window. She was lightly dressed and shivering, and she asked if I could look up where she lives and take her there. Her phone was dead.
She had gone out drinking on the beach with friends while it was still daylight and then she had fallen asleep and they forgot her. She said that a small amount of alcohol had really hit her, and she just had to sleep. This was about nine hours earlier. She seemed completely sober by the time I met her and she promised that she wasn't going to puke in the car. So, I decided to let her in.
She woke up extremely cold and was looking for an unlocked car to warm up in, when she saw me. I suggested the all night Tim Hortons that was very close, but she didn't want to go there because she knew they would phone the police because of her condition. She was more worried about her parents finding out, than waking up a stranger who's sleeping in his car.
So I cleared off the front seat of all of my food and everything and then gave her my thick vest to put on. Then I transferred all of the blankets from myself, to her and two of the extra blankets from the back, so it pretty much filled the entire passenger seat area, although she's not very big. I started the car and got heat blowing at her feet.
She was carrying all of her school stuff in a small backpack, because she had left Vancouver Island University in the afternoon and gone to the beach. I gave her some Kentucky Fried Chicken, some water and an apple.
We tried several different spellings of the road she was going to, and it just wasn't there. So I asked if she knew any of the connecting roads, and she did. It was a 6-minute drive and then there was a brand new development with the first spelling she had given me. It's not on Google Maps yet.
During the drive, I talked to her about the danger of accepting rides from strangers. She said, at some point the danger of hyperthermia outweighs that, plus, I was sleeping, I wasn't trying to pick up girls hitchhiking. She had seen the numerous tools, and assumed that I was working nearby, but that I don't live here, which is correct. She told me she had peeked around the car from all angles, before deciding to knock on the window. There was no alcohol or cigarettes or anything except for all of these tools, which made it seem less threatening to her.
So, as we drove, I asked what she's going to do next time she finds herself in that situation. She said there won't be a next time. I said, well if there is, what will you do. And we both agreed that she wouldn't run her phone out of battery on frivolous calls, and she will phone somebody much earlier if there is a next time.
We didn't have any rain. I told her that if she had had a bit more to drink, and it did rain, she could very well die of hypothermia in the same situation. She knows that, and I hope she'll remember this incident the next time somebody wants to go drinking outside.
When I was working in Northern Ontario, I had a roommate named Steve. He had gone drinking when he was 17 and he fell asleep behind a 7-Eleven store. Somebody went back there for a pee at about 1 a.m. and they found him hypothermic. He spent a week in the hospital and for a while, he held the record for the person with the lowest core temperature in Ontario to have survived to such an event. If that guy didn't have to pee, Steve would have died there. By the time I was done telling her this story, we were at the house. I waited until somebody answered the door, and then found another spot to sleep.
When you sleep in the car on a regular basis, you have little experiences that might not happen otherwise. I'm going back to sleep now. Good night.
This was only about 15 or 20 minutes from when she first knocked on the window until she was a home. Most of it spent getting her warm and trying to figure out where to take her.
I was talking to an ambulance guy a while back and he's been working for years. Those guys have so much life experience, they just have to unload sometimes. It must be the same for cops and social workers.
She told me she wanted to get home because she has to be back at University in the morning. I said that if she feels too tired, this would probably be a good day to take off, and to really think about what happened and how serious it could have been, if she had gotten wet or the night have gotten colder. I was pretty preachy. I do the same thing with my daughters, I'm so preachy that eventually they tell me to shut up.
My youngest daughter moved into a living situation a while back, that anyone could see couldn't work. The guy renting the rooms was in such Financial Straits that he filled the entire place up and moved into the living room that he promised would be available for everybody. Of course it wasn't. The guy's a slob and he plays video games while wearing earphones and he yells instructions to his partner in various war games, who isn't there, he's in some other house, irritating people there. So this gave me an opportunity to preach at her a little bit. We were all together, at my older daughters place, when we were talking about it. She said," you know what the worst thing is about this?"
"Mom was right !!! "
And she's not going to shut up about it. It took her a week to tell her mother, while me and her sister knew about it much earlier.
When young people fuck up, I think it's important to help them and give them some instruction, but not to be so preachy that they feel like they can't tell you stuff.
I was sleeping in my truck this last summer in a grocery store parking lot after resupplying at the store, and I hear a girl crying on the edge of the the parking lot. I hear a lot of fights and breakups sleeping in the truck, and always keep a weather eye on things, but rarely need to intervene. I look at her, she is just sitting on the curb with a phone (turns out it was dead); I leave her alone. It continues. Like a half hour later she is still crying, so I crawl out of my camper shell and go check on her. As I approach, I realize she has no pants on. OH SHIT, I think. I run back and grab a blanket, approach her with that. It was in the upper thirties that night, not too horrible, but no good without shoes, socks, or pants. Turns out that what I was thinking hadn’t happened, she just fought with her boyfriend and she wasn’t dressed when he threw her out of the car, so she walked several miles until she found somewhere with people around, but was too embarrassed to go inside with nothing to cover her lower body, despite the fact that she was hypothermic (I had to help her button and tie the clothes I gave her because her fingers wouldn’t work). I got her into a set of my spare clothes, wrapped her up in my sleeping bag and blankets, made her eat my peanut butter and gorp, and drove her back to her campsite to pick up her tent and gear and stuff, and then drove her to another campsite where her now-ex couldn’t find her and where I knew the female campground host would keep an eye on her and let her crash in a relatively snug little outbuilding for the night. I don’t know if she’d been drinking, but in my experience that much drama usually involves some drink or drugs somewhere.
Of course, I found a very beautiful couch. Definitely. And this tiny ad:
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