I’ll probably have time to blog in decently descriptive detail about what I did in Glacier National Park (that was before the pears) and Vancouver (that was after). But for now, I’m just letting you all know that I’m in Seattle, and I’m sleeping under an actual roof. Remember that guy Darwin that I stayed with when I was living in New York in 2010? Well, he just moved to Seattle a month ago, and when I sounded my Facebook “Where am I going to sleep in Seattle?” call, he invited me over for a couple nights until I find someone who can have me over longer. I haven’t figured out where that’ll be yet, but I have a few different leads.
Some might say I’m freeloading. That’s not really right. The only things I’m getting for free right now are things that wouldn’t have been used anyhow: the overnight use of the couch here, a safe couple of square feet to keep my backpack, a bike that was left in the basement by the previous residents of this house. And I’m not taking anything. I supply my own food. I dumpstered a bunch of absolutely fine sandwiches last night, so I haven’t been hungry at all. I suppose I used a little soap, shampoo, hot water, and laundry detergent, but that’s practically a negligible cost. And meanwhile I’ve been giving back.
Darwin lives with four other people, all of them volunteers at various places in the city. One of them—I think her name is Brin—was trying to pump up her bike tires last night, and getting nowhere. “Darwin’s friend, do you know more about this bike pump than I do?” she asked. “Maybe?” I said. I took a look at it. The tubing was broken open near the nozzle; I showed her. “Can that be fixed?” she said. It looked pretty grim. But I took an analytical eye to the problem, and pried the nozzle apart with my Leatherman, trimmed the cracked part off of the end of the tubing, and put the nozzle back on. She was impressed. “You’re quite handy!” she said. “Any other problems I can solve with my Leatherman?” I asked. “I can’t think of anything. I’ll have to start breaking things,” she said. But I felt like with that, and with the dumpstered sandwiches that they welcomed with fascinated open arms into their fridge, I’ve at least earned my keep. I don’t take without giving. The people who do that are the beggars on the sidewalks and the onramps, and though a lot of them don’t deserve that fate, a lot of them also do, because for whatever reason they feel like the world owes them, and all they need to do is stand and collect it. I try to keep my karma in balance. That’s why I still have friends, and that’s why I’m not asking you for your spare change.