Sunday, January 29, 2012

Temporary Occupants

Last Monday, I noticed a really old car on my street.  Not a classic, but a 20 year old Civic that somehow still runs.  Later in the day, I saw that same car driving out of the subdivision, with three dogs in the hatch.  At the time, I was amused to see all the dogs, but then I wondered who they were actually visiting on my very small street that would let anyone visit with three dogs.  We only have two dogs and have no takers in terms of anyone wanting us to visit with them.

The car was still there on Tuesday.  It was still there on Wednesday.  By Thursday, I had concluded that the owners of the car were actually living out of it, and possibly camping in my local park.  I mentioned this to a neighbour, who had seen the couple and their dogs emerging from a wooded area that morning.  We agreed that we should alert the police to their situation since they made us nervous for our safety.  My neighbour also noticed a campfire behind her house that night, which isn't really awesome in a residential area.

I didn't call the police on Thursday.  The car was gone when I returned from taking my daughter to school, and I crossed my fingers that they would not return.  They were back that night.  I didn't make the call.  My husband wasn't really on board with me harassing these poor people when they had nothing but a shitty car and a park to camp in, while we sat in our warm house, eating bon bons.

I agreed with him on that level, but I couldn't help but feel unsafe.  I really wished they'd leave so I wouldn't have to feel guilty about having them removed.

On the Friday, I did a really wimpy thing.  I mentioned the situation to another neighbour, who I knew would call the police.  The police were there that night.  From what I witnessed from my darkened living room, the cops let them reside until morning, when I saw them packing up their gear into the car.

I was glad that they were leaving, but still felt horrible for their situation.  More than likely, they were just people down on their luck, not wanting to lose their pets, trying to stay alive as a family.  I wanted to help, but was afraid of them at the same time.  What if I helped and they came back and asked for more?  What if they posed a harm to my family?  They had to go, I figured.

The huz walked our dogs that morning.  On his way home, he encountered the female occupant of the old car, whose dogs were looking to say hello to my dogs.  The huz and the woman had a brief conversation.  She flat out told him that she and her boyfriend were camping, but were now on their way to Thunder Bay to visit someone in his family.  The huz wished her well, and offered her whatever cash he was carrying as a way of helping out.  I'm proud of him, but feel pretty ashamed of myself

Intellectually, I know that this was not a stable situation and could not persist.  They would have been removed from our street/park eventually.  I also know that if I had approached them to diffuse my fears, probably nothing bad would have happened, but there was no way of knowing that.

I still feel like an asshole.


  1. Do you think homeless people are more prone to being criminals than homed people?

    I don't know if that's true, though I read that they tend to be mentally ill. I feel sorry for them. There are a lot of resources out there, though, and maybe they were the sort of people who wanted to camp -- I saw a couple on HGTV's For Rent show who camped for a whole year but had jobs and everything! The funniest part was they were super picky about what apartment they rented. .. it was like, wouldn't you take anything? I would! You'd never catch me even camping for more than 2 days, and that's just for fun.

    1. My thinking is that a homeless person near my house might eventually be needy enough to break in to grab something for survival. And I worried about their dogs and if they've had their shots, etc. Mostly I feared the unknown, which is part of my reason for feeling guilty.