The Sleep Thing

I know I’ve been talking a good deal about sleep, but that’s because homelessness is really all about the sleep.  Homelessness isn’t about what you do during the day, everyone has activities that fill their time.  But, when you strip life down to it’s bare ingredients, the only thing that really separates homeless people from everyone else is that homeless people don’t have a secure place to sleep.  Once a homeless person is able to find such a place, then the rest of life is theirs to do with as they please.

I think one of the reasons that people get angry with the homeless is that the homeless act as a mirror of sorts, reflecting back the reality of the self, of the onlookers.  The onlookers who have bought into the idea that certain standards of living are important and necessary – they may not actually believe what they’ve been told about life, but they have conformed anyway.  Then they see other people getting away with not conforming, and that makes them angry, makes them jealous, makes them realize that all the things they pursue are but a mirage, a hoax, a facade.  They feel trapped in the life they’ve built around themselves.  The homeless are existing without conforming, and they think it’s unfair, so they take out their self loathing on the homeless.

I guess this is why, when people try to end homelessness, they focus on denying the homeless a restful night’s sleep.  Still, sleep is a human necessity, as necessary as food and water, we cannot live without it.  To deny people the right to sleep is criminal, is inhumane.  Sleep is a right.

Speaking on a restful night’s sleep, I just figured out something – the importance of a good pillow.  I had been using my back pack as my pillow.   For one, I need something under my head when I sleep, and two, keeping my head on my back pack is an added layer of security so that no one steals it.  The problem is my back pack feels like a lumpy rock.  It is very uncomfortable.  So, for the past couple nights I’ve been rolling up my sweater and using it as my pillow, and for this my head feels more comfortable when I sleep and so I sleep better, and I get more rest.  I used to wear my sweater as I slept, but with the sleeping bag, I don’t really need to. My body in general is getting used to sleeping on the cement.  I don’t have as many aches and pains when I wake up.   That’s a good thing!


About Kevin Barbieux

I have been diagnosed as being chronically homeless. I write about my experiences and opinions of being homeless
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