I found where I wanted t sleep was vacant and the nearest other sleep was about 15 feet away, which is a good thing. I don’t want my usually loud snoring to piss anyone off. I don’t need enemies on the streets. I locked my backpack to the chain link fence and laid down, using the backpack as a pillow. I immediately noticed a chill in the air. And through the night the air grew colder. There was a slight breeze, but it was constant, preventing me from conserving any body heat. And it didn’t take long for the concrete is begin hurting my bones, from the cold and the hardness.
The chain link fence runs along the border of an empty lot, and up against this fence slept dozens of homeless people. Some had tents, others had sleeping bags. Others had cardboard to sleep on. I think I was the only idiot to be lying directly on the concrete. Although there was commotion through out the night, it was mostly quiet. Pairs of people walked from one camp set up to another. Occasionally I could hear the anger and heated words between a man and woman, but it came from the other side of the empty lot. A random holler would break through the cold air. Since I could not sleep, I just watched and listened to the street sounds.
Then I noticed ants, not many of them, but they were on most everything. They weren’t a bother and sort of tickled my skin as they crawled along. I empathized, thinking they were looking for a place out of the cold too. A field mouse scurried by, then jumped into a small hole when it noticed that I noticed it.
Then about 1:30am the rattle of a jackhammer started up. About a block away a construction crew started working on repairs to the trolley track. Yeah, it had to be 1:30 because that’s when the last of the trolleys pass by. At 2am it was obvious that I wasn’t going to get any sleep. So, I sat up and started reading a book. Not long after, the urge to urinate came over me. Not sure where I could go, I just kept reading, remembering that Starbucks would open at 4:30am. At about 2:30am a couple guys walk by, angry with each other, their banter was a continuous “calling out”, threatening each other to fight. Idle threats, they didn’t even get loud. They kept on their way.
At 3am I unlocked my backpack from the fence, threw it on my back and started looking for a place to urinate. Things were different from when I was outside last time. I couldn’t go where I used to. Then I remembered a public restroom near the entrance to the Gaslamp District. It was a few blocks away. I headed in that direction.
Around the next block I saw that the new 7/11 was open. I did not know it was a 24hr store. I went in, but was told that their restrooms were not available until 6am – even if I bought something. I bought an banana anyway and keep going. 4 blocks West and 3 blocks south and I was at the pubic restroom. And, thankfully, it was open. Still I had to wait my turn as there were other homeless people ahead of me. With the pressure off my bladder, I no longer had a goal for the rest of the night.
This pubic restroom was next to a trolley station and so I checked the schedule. In just a half hour (4am) the trolleys would start up again, so I thought I’d go for a ride. I have a monthly public transportation pass. The thought crossed my mind that maybe I could get some sleep on the trolley, but that didn’t work out.
It was as if the trolley was a special service for all the crazy homeless people in the city at that time of the morning – the first trolley out of the gate. All those people who couldn’t sleep had caught a ride. And they all tried to talk to me. I’m half asleep, trying to mind my own business and read my book, and they’re jabbering at me about something illogical and incoherant. I think I’ll pass on taking the first trolley of the day, next time.
Not having a plan, I decided to get off the trolley at the San Diego State University terminal. It it located on the campus. But the campus seemed like it was still asleep – school must be over. I saw a sign for Jack-in-the-Box and walked that way, hoping instead to find a McDonalds near by. No such luck. I then walked back to the campus and waited for the tolled headed back into town. That was about a 45 minute wait. I used the time to finish watching “The Misfits” with Clark Gabble and Marilyn Monroe. It was the last film for the both of them, Gabble died just a few months after the filming completed, Marilyn died a couple years later.
Once in town I went to a cafe for something to eat and wifi. At noon I went to the Y to shower, then after that to this McDonalds. It’s now 4pm. I’ll have to head out to Walmart soon to get a new sleeping bag.