Spring cleaning


A few weeks ago, I was driving down the street when I saw an SUV parked on the side of the road with a bunch of clothes piled on the hood. This wasn’t something you see every day and I had to stop to see what the story was.

There was a woman in the passenger seat who got out and said hi as I walked up. I asked her, “What’s up with the clothes?”

“This isn’t my car,” she said. “It’s my friend’s car and she’s been doing some organizing.”

“She’s organizing on the hood of the car?” I asked.  I took a quick look inside the vehicle and noticed the backseat was also piled high with clothes.

“Yeah. She’ll be right back. She just went down the street.”

I engaged the woman in small talk as she told me about being homeless for the last five years. She was 25 years old, blonde, thin and had major acne. She was quite entertaining and was more than happy to talk about life on the street.

“I used to live in my car in San Francisco. It was so stuffed with clothes I had to sleep like a “human Tetris.”


Not human Tetris. The real deal.

That was downright funny and I burst out with laughter because I played Tetris back in the day and knew exactly what she was talking about.

That’s when a woman and a man walked up. She had bright red hair and was about 45 years old. She was smoking a cigarette and was the vehicle’s owner.

“I just stopped by to take a picture of all the clothes,” I said as I pulled out my iPad. “Do you want to be in the picture too?”

The woman laughed as she said, “Oh God, no!” She then retreated behind the SUV because she was camera shy.

After I took the picture, the woman with red hair started folding clothes as she said, “I’m doing some organizing.”

“I heard,” I replied.

She went on to tell me how she had been giving clothes away as she tried to make room in her car. She held up clothes and looked at them like she was in a department store. Once she was satisfied, she folded them and made piles on the hood. It was actually funny to watch.

I finally had to say goodbye because I had another call to go to. They seemed happy I had stopped by to talk and waved as I drove away. The first woman even told me to have a safe night.

It’s always fun to stop and talk with people. Everyone one has a story. They just need the right person to tell it to.  Plus, I would’ve never heard the phrase “human Tetris” unless I stopped.

You just never know what you’re going to see out on patrol.

17 thoughts on “Spring cleaning

  1. I couldn’t imagine living this sort of life, but glad to hear they seemed to be in good spirits. ‘Human Tetris’ is hilarious!


      • Before I was in dispatch, I was a long haul truck driver. My wife used to drive as well and we drove as a family when our eldest son (who just turned 18 yrs today!) was about 1.5 yrs old. That made for some interesting “human Tetris” if he happened to be in one of his weird sleeping positions, that only toddlers can get into!!


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