I have my favorite spot to sleep at night. It affords me as much privacy and safety as I can hope for considering it is just a section of concrete sidewalk.
I remember, several years ago in Nashville, this guy whose head was bashed in with a hammer as he slept. I’m hoping to avoid a similar fate. There is just enough room for me to fit my backpack and my head between two solid pieces of metal comfortably. Although my legs extend out into the sidewalk, it’s a very wide sidewalk and most people walk on the far side of it anyway. I won’t be tripping anyone as they walk, even if they don’t recognize that a person is there. Besides, there are another dozen or so people doing the same sort of thing along this one city block.
I also made sure that the sleeping bag I recently bought was long enough to cover me entirely. Although it gets uncomfortably warm to do so, I can cover myself completely within the bag. The less of me that people can see, the less vulnerable I feel. Next month, when I can afford to collect some more necessities, I’m getting a small tent. I think it will go a long way towards getting a better nights sleep. Ah, but that’s 3 weeks away.
I dread having to leave whatever I’m doing, usually internet surfing, so to bed down for the night, that part of me wants to put it off as long as possible. I also worry that if I arrive at my spot too late someone else might get it, and I’ll have to go looking for another spot. That would be a hassle, as well potentially unsafe. I have been going to bed earlier and earlier each night.
I awoke several times during the night. Either I was in an uncomfortable position and needed to adjust, or someone was making noise, or I had to urinate. Now, back when I was in the shelter tent, it was strictly forbidden to pee in a bottle. The problem there was the portajohns were at least 100 yards away. Having to get up and make that trek was difficult at times. Some times I didn’t quite make it in time. Ah, but on the street, I can pee in a bottle all I want. I don’t even need to get up. I just grab the bottle, bring it under the sleeping bag, and hope there’s no spillage.
In the middle of the night last night something completely different woke me up. It was the police. Well, it was the sound of a police radio. Cops were standing near by. I thought, “great, we are having a sweep”. Should I get up and just leave, hoping they would leave me alone if did?
Then I started listening to the conversation one cop was having on the polioe radio. They seemed to be focused on just one individual. I then wondered if I would be next.
But this homeless woman they were talking to didn’t seem right. She was babbling on in spanish. They were having a hard time understanding her. The way she carried on, she may not have been understanding herself.
The cop asked her, “where’d you get that bump on your head’? Did you fall, or did someone hit you? Can you stand up? (she couldn’t). Have you been drinking?” She kept saying something bout her husband. From where I was it was mostly inaudible. Then I could hear the siren of an ambulance getting nearer. All this was going on without me being able to see anything, being that I was covered.
Again I wondered if the cops would approach me next. But after the woman was put into the ambulance and the paramedics packed up their gear and drove away, the sound of police radio faded away as well. And I fell asleep again. When I awoke hours later, all was quiet.