Ok, it wasn´t really morning when my sleep was interrupted by the harsh sound of a flashlight against my driver window. Last night at 2:36 am, I rolled down my window and spoke to who I thought would be the first cop making my life miserable. My first thought was: “From all places, they enforce the “No overnight parking” – rule here, close to the homeless shelter?” I am not sure I can recall the exact order of our conversation, I was confused and sleepy, but it went something like this:
Officer: “Ma´am, I need to ask you to move on. It´s not safe here”.
Officer: “There was a shooting two streets down last week and stabbing about a mile from here yesterday.”
Me: “Oh shit.”
Officer: “Yeah, the mission asked us to come by during the night and get the homeless out of the area. We hope it´ll be better in a few weeks. You know where Walmart or Hobby Lobby is? You can get some sleep there.”
Officer: “Over on 8th street.”
Me: “Alright. Thank you!”
I watched him wake up one homeless individual after the other, some of which only reluctantly crawled out of their sleeping bags. It took me about 2 minutes to get ready and leave. Maybe I should´ve told him that the Walmart he is referring to doesn´t permit overnight parking or that I´ve never tried sleeping at a Hobby Lobby. Either way, I made my way to a spot by the rail roads across town and, after fighting my allergies with some pills, went back to bed.
My mind is blown. I did not get in trouble with the law and the officer actually made an effort to keep us safe. He even provided alternatives for something that, in my city, is illegal (sleeping in one´s car). While I don´t assume that this is the rule, it does shed a new light on the authorities here.
The moral of the story? Stay tuned to your local news.