|Tillie2 after Snowzilla 2016|
In mid-January I parked Tillie2, my home on wheels, without electrical hookup for a couple nights as I scooted into NYC for a conference. The weather was moderately cold, and I was not surprised when I returned to find that my systems (water and sewer) had frozen in that period.
Not a good situation since now I’m living in this little van and will be filming and speaking in Pennsylvania for a few weeks. Without going into gross detail, let me say that being frozen presented monumental challenges.
A friend made a call to the local fire station. They agreed to let me park in their heated garage for a short time. I could not have been treated nicer, including some over the top help from one of the firefighters who has a camper and knows the issues I was facing.
My water thawed. The black tank didn’t, despite heroic efforts. I was bummed but understood that I couldn't stay there all night, and I ventured back to the below-freezing world, stymied.
After another day of frustration, I went into the big box home improvement store, resolved to buy the equivalent of dynamite if it would help. I ended up with a $10 plumbing snake. And amazingly it worked!
In all my 10 years of full-time camping, this was the most vexing issue. Of course, I’m camping in a part of the country during the time of year that no one in their right mind would be camping. Which got me to thinking…
The treatment I got at the FD was extraordinary. They’re used to rescuing people, so maybe that’s why they agreed to help. They rescue many people, including homeless folks I know, and often have to do it time and time again, often for recurring poverty-related reasons. I’m sure these rescuers get frustrated with repeated calls for the same old thing.
It was clear that I was given a break, and that future rescues would not be possible. I had the wherewithal and determination to attack this challenge, and got lucky finding the tool I needed to fix things. But my impoverished and otherwise challenged friends don’t often have what they need to get out of the situations they end up in.
No easy answers, other than pointing out the obvious—that resources and ability matter. Those without the means to solve problems often find themselves in deeper ones. And the rescue process is expensive.
My luck—having what I need—is just that, luck. I’m glad I’m lucky, but I don’t feel a sense of entitlement. I do have a deep sense of appreciation, especially since we got hit with Snowzilla 2016 just a few days after I thawed.
The moral of the story for me is appreciate what's flowing when it's flowing. Yeah.