I was rather taken aback by the whole incident, and somewhat enraged, but probably not the way most people would think.
Last week one day I was doing yard work and went to retrieve some dirt I had put in buckets outside the greenhouse. When I got there I noticed the greenhouse door was not zipped closed. It took me a moment to confirm to myself that I had indeed zipped it shut the last time I was in there, so who left it unzipped? Did they let in enough cold to kill the 3 plants I had managed to keep alive since October, including the two fruit forming just past the blossom/polliunation phase?
When I pulled back the flap there was a bundle of blankets and possibly a sleeping bag in the middle of the room near the entry flap. At first I thought it might have been the one person I had talked to and given permission to shelter there if he ever had no other place and it got too cold. But if so, how could he be so stupid as to come in to get out of the cold and then leave the door open. I just couldn’t believe he would be so stupid.
I nudged the bundle to get a response. A woman’s voice answered. So it wasn’t who I thought. Then she showed her face and I recognized her. She had stayed in our house a couple of nights several months ago, and then another couple more recently, at the request of someone staying with us who wanted to help her out. So I knew her, sort of, and her predicament.
A certain part of me desired to help as I could. But another, more strident, part of me was outraged at her stupidity. Who goes into a house to get out of the cold and forgets to shut the door behind them?
I asked her if anyone knew she was there? Yes, the guy who asked us to assist her before did (I later checked with him, and she had been trying to sleep in his car, and he told her to get out, so her answer was sort of true, but not really).
My response was that she needed to check with me before just using our stuff, and while I was normally prone to help people out, I had been taken aback by her disregard for my plants and her stupidity in not zipping the door shut after her. She said she couldn’t find the zipper on the inside to close it. Since it was the same thing as to open it, the answer was even more stupid.
I asked her if she wanted me to call the police on her for trespassing. No? Then you have 15 minutes to get out of here, and I will watch to make sure you only take your stuff. If you are not gone in 15 minutes I will call the police and have you hauled off for trespassing (Good thing I put up that no trespassing sign. Turns out it came in handy).
She left without resistance.
It really troubled me that I was casting out someone who needed help as much as she did, but I know that in the end she needed what I gave her as well. My mantra song says “honor all people.” She did not honor us by what she did and how she slipped in and took no care for the greenhouse (the plants survived), but I honored her by making her adult up and take responsibility for who and what she is and her actions.