In Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin there is a parking lot on a hill across from Starbucks and the old firehouse. I used to park there and have a cigarette on the way to work and back again on the way home. This was a long term parking lot, and it was rare to see anyone there. One evening, I noticed an occupied car with a lone white female in the driver’s seat. The rest of the car was full of stuff. It looked like all her possessions. I didn’t pay much attention and went on my way.
The next morning I noticed her again. The car had moved to another spot, but she was still there. It took her a few days to notice me as a repeat visitor to the lot. She was clearly living out of her car and parking for free in this lot.
Then one evening, as I exited the car park, I saw that she was following me. She followed me all the way back to my place. I parked and got out of my car and walked up to her. She rolled down her windows and said if I knew any gentleman named X (don’t recall the name). I replied that I didn’t. She sized me up for a few seconds and drove away.
As it happens, she spent a good few weeks living out of her car in that lot before our next interaction. I offered her the shower and laundry facilities at my house so that she could freshen up and wear clean clothes again. It was a Saturday morning when she accepted the offer. That morning when she came over, I made her breakfast as well.
We spoke for a while. I could only offer her encouragement. I gave her some money as we were parting.
I never saw her again.
Be glad for what you have.
~ Pushkar Chintaluri