It seems odd to take a vacation. My whole life is pretty much vacation. I do what I want most of the time. The kids are grown and, although they still live at home, they're self sufficient. My husband is the most low-maintenance person alive. I get a nap in the afternoon a couple of times a week.
Of course, the afternoon naps make me think of my friends on the street. Portland is patient and gracious as most cities go, but the homeless are rousted at 8:00 a.m. to clear the sidewalks and doorways for businesses. It makes no difference when they got to sleep or whether they're sick or their backs are aching from sleeping on concrete. Up and out, everybody.
Where would one go for a little more sleep if one didn't have a home or a bed or a door to close against the world? Where would one wash? There are a few public restrooms around, and I've even seen a pay-per-use shower downtown, which is awesome. I can give a few people enough coins for a shower and feel great doing it. Breakfast can be found at the missions, and the trash cans outside the coffee places tend to have bits of pastries and other freshly-thrown-out leftovers. But a nap? Only if one can find shelter under or behind some shrubbery. There's no legal place to nap in the daytime.
I can see why so many homeless people don't mind too much when they get arrested. Jail is more comfortable than the sidewalk, meals are provided, and naps are allowed. It's an awfully expensive way for the city to meet the needs of the poor, and I hope someday we manage to provide free shelter for the chronically homeless. But for now, at least there are jails, and at least the people in them are treated with a modicum of dignity. Life could be worse.
So, off I go to Ashland and fun and luxury and excesses of food and a classy play. I'll try not to carry too much guilt along, and I'll be paying attention to how people treat the poor in another community. But I'll be eager to get back on Sunday and resume my food deliveries. Giving away food is the most satisfying thing I do. I wish I could also hand out some naps!