Thursday, September 12, 2013

I love to go a-wandering

Today I had to take posters for the agency where I work, which serves low-income people, to various other organizations to ask if they would put them up so our potential clients would know about our services.

One of the places I went to was Bellingham's homeless shelter, the Lighthouse Mission. When I was walking toward their drop-in center, I was struck by the juxtaposition of a handful of the urban poor standing in front of a homeless shelter, with a big billboard across the street advertising a luxury hotel and restaurant, also named "Lighthouse" something-or-other. I didn't read it closely enough to remember the name, but after searching online, I believe it was the Lighthouse Bar & Grill at the Bellwether Hotel, which is, in fact, just down the road a ways from the shelter, sort of.

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I am not one for leading the rich people's guilt trip, but it did seem almost in bad taste to put that particular billboard in that particular place.

Another place I needed to go was a social services office, DSHS, as it's called around here. My co-worker had told me it was right near Christ the King Church, which is a church in a strip mall.

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So I pulled into the strip mall off Bakerview and to my right I could see the big entrance doors of Christ the King Church. I figured it wouldn't be in that building and I took a left and drove by the store fronts, doing sort of a U-shaped trek, without seeing DSHS. But this big parking lot let onto other parking lots. I crossed some kind of road and drove into a lot featuring a Dairy Queen restaurant.

"DQ, DSHS, what's the difference?" I said to myself. (Of course, I was just joking. You can get a milkshake at DQ but not at DSHS.) I kept rolling along, seeing the Department of Licensing -- yay, a government building, surely I must be close -- but then an empty store, back on the little road and then into the parking lot of a bowling alley. But I said, "She said it was near Christ the King, so I'd better go back," and driving toward those doors I saw to one side the DSHS. When I first came into the parking lot and saw CTK (as it is also known) to my right, I should have taken the right and driven past the large, impressive front of CTK to the smaller, more seedy front of DSHS.

The impressive front of CTK

After leaving my posters there, I pulled out onto the Guide Meridian and went north a very short ways then turned left onto a road I thought would take me to Whatcom Community College, but it turned out to be that little road I had been on before and, yikes, there were the bowling alley and the DQ. "Oh, no," I said, "I'm in the parking lot from hell." But eventually I found my way out again and completed all my stops.

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