I have a truck loaded with incontinence pants.
Not a lot of people can say that.
There are other things in the truck including a five-gallon gas can (empty), a fold-out table in case we tailgate, a giant gray metal tool box like your grandpa probably had, and firewood from South Dakota. There is also an axe in the driver’s side door pocket, you know, just in case I need to fend off somebody who wants to rob me of my many incontinence pants.
But why on earth would I have a truckload of incontinence pants? I am not incontinent. Let me say that again. I AM NOT INCONTINENT. Although there is no shame in incontinence or any other kind of physical fucked-up-ness. It’s just life and bodies and things not working. We all have something not right but some people’s something requires special pants. That has to be a bummer.
I have all these incontinence pants because some very kind people wanted to give them to me for people who are homeless. There was no way to say no because the one thing I’ve learned doing this work is that homeless people need all kinds of things you’d never think of, including a way to deal with incontinence on top of the everyday struggle of finding a place to stay and something to eat. It would be pretty rough, don’t you think, to have to figure out an incontinence strategy when you only have the clothes on your back? And even rougher to suffer people’s looks, their crossing the street to be away from you, if you can’t figure it out.
Be still my bleeding heart.
Last winter, a woman in a homeless warming room asked me if there were any incontinence supplies. I looked at her puzzled for a minute and then went to ask. When I came back a half hour later with supplies, she said, “I thought you didn’t hear me.” But I did.