A Series of Temporary Measures

A Series of Temporary Measures October 5, 2022

Everything is changing now. The whole world is going gold before it goes gray. Nothing will stay the same for long.

Last night I tried to take the borrowed car on a longer trip than usual, just to get out of the house. It made a horrifying noise, so I aborted the mission and took it back to my house to rest. I didn’t park it in the old hiding place on the next block, where I’d been parking the old car to hide it from my harassing neighbor. I parked it up the block, out of my old harassing neighbor’s sight. And I wasn’t afraid she’d do anything to it.

I don’t know if they’ve gotten my neighbor on a better medication or if she’s dying, or if I really scared her so badly by confronting her that she stopped seven years of stalking and abuse just like that. But she barely makes a sound now, and hasn’t for months. The only time I am reminded that she’s alive is when she lets the dog out to do its business once or twice a day. Sometimes she doesn’t even do that.

It’s so quiet, we can have the windows open.

The air smells like Autumn.

Yesterday I went to the community garden to pick a few late tomatoes, and somebody had mowed the whole thing. It hadn’t been mowed in months. The poke was as tall as I am and the bindweed was eating the garden alive. I’d given up trying to smother the weeds with cardboard and just trampled a path to my raised beds. But now the whole thing is mowed down to the ground. You can see the old fire pit and the pile of logs from where they chopped down that tree. I found, for the first time since July, that it was easy to find tomatoes and eggplant rather than having to forage for them in among the weeds. I picked a gigantic eggplant that had been hiding from me, an eggplant as big and shiny as a fancy leather purse.  The plants won’t last much longer, but it’s a beautiful finale to a productive year.

I took the food home, and went back to car searching.

This might be the worst time to look for a used car. We are very, very thankful for what came in on the gofundme but in this market, it’s a nightmare to try to find a car that runs for that amount. There is nothing. Yesterday I walked up and down the street in a bad part of Steubenville, to check out the used car dealerships that don’t have websites, and all I got for my trouble was cat calls from the town drunks. A friend offered to scour the small dealerships in Columbus for me, but I don’t know how I’ll get to Columbus. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

We only have the borrowed car for a few more days. I’m beyond grateful that we have anything at all, but I worry.

In the middle of all of this, Holly the Witch mentioned to me that there was a homeless woman living in my old car.

I didn’t have a place to tow the car to when I was trapped in Columbus, so I paid the tow truck to tow it to Holly’s house. I apologized for leaving the ugly derelict parked in her yard beside  her beautiful garage with all the murals painted on it. I promised I’d come back with the title and scrap it as soon as I could, but that was weeks ago and I still can’t find a vehicle.

In the middle of all this, a homeless lady that Holly knows came and knocked on the door asking for lunch.

Holly often has met this woman before. She got her a Lunchable out of the fridge. They sat on the front porch and chatted over their crackers and bologna. This woman is a fentanyl addict who had recently been thrown off of the porch where she was sleeping. It was starting to get cold at night. So Holly mentioned that there was a car nobody wanted parked by her garage, and I wasn’t coming to get it for a few days, and she would not notice if somebody slept in it. “The airbags will make a nice privacy curtain.”

She has been in there for a few days. Having a place to sleep and leave her things is such a relief that she’s talking about going to rehab for the first time.  Lord knows how she’ll get there or whether it will do any good. But she’s talking.

She knows this arrangement is only temporary. I need my license plate back and I need to scrap the car for a little cash. Adrienne’s growing straight out of all her clothes. We’ve got rent to pay. But for the moment, since the car’s not being used, she has a place to sleep.

“The world is an endless series of temporary measures,” says Holly the Witch.

And we’ll see where we go from here.


image via Pixabay 

Mary Pezzulo is the author of Meditations on the Way of the Cross, The Sorrows and Joys of Mary, and Stumbling into Grace: How We Meet God in Tiny Works of Mercy.

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