Trudging out of the classroom I swung open the door, and a blast of frigid air hit as I hopped into the pickup. We were off to jump my Prius, which was sitting idly a few blocks away in front of the local Family Learning Center. It was a risk – I had to poop. Since I was sleeping in my car the classroom bathroom was my only real option at the moment. Unless my car came back to life.
The past couple days had been a bit of a whirlwind. I was in Silverton, CO for an avalanche training course, and had just finished driving out from Virginia after winter break. So far I had managed to leave my snowshoes in a parking lot the day before class, woke up in the Prius to -30°F weather, woke up in a Prius that refused to start, experienced enormous, feathery ice crystals inside the Prius, and most recently had my fleece gloves and balaclava stolen when I left my gear outside classroom doors. Who steals a balaclava? Needless to say my faith in humanity was taking a considerable nosedive.
Dave and Sophia had come with me to jump the Prius, and as I fiddled with the battery terminal Sophia handed me a note “Hi, I don’t know, I’m just guessing that you may be sleeping in your car and it looks to be another -30°F night. I have a spare house/office/mancave with heat and plumbing that you can use if you like…”
Suddenly all the negative emotions of the day washed away as I looked at this small, handwritten note. Later in the night, while taking a shower I reflected on the events of the day. Mr. Kerwin, the kind gentleman who offered the house to me had been mayor of the town previously. According to him it was typical that a couple younger folks would sleep in their cars during the avalanche courses, during which it was usually quite a bit colder than normal. It was tradition to offer them a bit of lodging if you could pick them out.
I walked to class the next day, warm and well-fed without a care in the world. It didn’t matter that my car didn’t start, or that I had been eating the same, beyond-frozen food for a week straight. I had a warm place to call home. Walking back after the course finished I opened the door to the house and in front of me lay a bag of fresh, homemade chocolate-chip cookies. My faith in humanity was restored.