I am now in my tent, on the sidewalk, across the street from the downtown library. I am happy with it, though my paranoia won’t ever let me live completely stress free. I worry that someone might try to mess with the tent during the night and that I’ll be stuck in the tent, unable to get out of it, if needed. The rational side of my brain reminds me that I’ve never seen any such thing happen before. Also, there are plenty of people around that would deter someone from doing something that blatantly criminal. Half, if not more of the people sleeping on the streets here are in tents, or in tent-like configurations. Put two shopping carts about 6 feet apart and drape a tarp over it and you’re good to go.
Maybe because it’s Friday, but maybe also because of the super full moon, (which scientists say doesn’t really affect the mind), there are a lot of rowdy people out tonight, people arguing, and it’s only 8:30ish at night. And not all the revelers are homeless, the cross street to the north is a main walkway to the clubs downtown, and to the Padre’s baseball field. Sirens are pretty regular now, about every half hour or so. One never really knows what those are about – domestic violence on the streets – someone having a heart attack – whatever. The annoying whine will stir you awake if you’re asleep.
As I thought might be a concern, this particular city block I sleep on is crowded, was crowded even at 8pm when I first got here this evening. There was only one space big enough for me to stretch out this tent – at the end of the row. The more this area grows in demand for a place to sleep, the earlier and earlier people will show up, so to secure themselves their chunk of cement. That is a bit of a drag on things because it means I have to stop doing my daily things earlier. The flip side bonus is that, with this tent, I can do things I wouldn’t dare do otherwise, such as pull out this laptop and type or watch movies or whatever. There is great security for my possessions in this tent. Without the tent, my only hope is to wake up as someone tries to steal something of mine. If you have been following this blog, you know what softly after I arrived in San Diego someone stole my wallet as I slept.
Another benefit of the tent is that I can relax more and get more comfortable, I can lay out, I guess I could even strip down to just my underwear, though I may not do that just yet. We’ll see how hot it gets this summer.
I am a bystander – have always been. Life, throughout my life, is something that happens outside of myself, is all around me, but not in me. I guess that’s why I so often wonder why I even bother making the effort to stay alive. Yes, I know, I’m barely alive as it is, doing the minimum to maintain my physical being. I shower, I put on clean clothes when I can, I eat and drink. When I can, I sleep.
My intellectual being spends the day attempting to understand the world that everyone else is living in. I would be reading books if it were not for the internet. Well, the internet is one huge, living, breathing, growing, changing, book. It makes me think of the movie “The Blob”. The blob indiscriminately consumes everything around it, and grows in proportion to everything it has consumed. Eventually it will consume everything, will contain everything, and will be monstrous.
I awake at sunrise, or just before. I pack up my things and carry them with me up two blocks to the trolley station. I ride the trolley up the hill 5 more blocks, then exit the trolley at the point it turns to the left. i then walk up the hill an additional 3 blocks to the McDonalds. I find an empty table and leave my things there. I then go to the register and order my breakfast. I carry my breakfast to the table, set the tray in front of me, and pull out my laptop and place that on the table just beyond the tray. I open the laptop, start the operating system, plug in the head phones, and click on something to read or watch while I eat.
Once breakfast is over and I have my hands free, I might play a game for a while. I’ve gotten into Minecraft again. It challenges me and it gives me the opportunity to be around others, if only indirectly. The Minecraft server that I’m on is owned by a internet company and it’s employees and friends all play on it. Mostly though, I play by myself and don’t interact with the others, even when we are on at the same time. But I know they are there, and that gives me a somewhat satisfying feeling. It feels good to not feel alone.
I will sit in the McDonalds for hours until the battery runs low, then I’ll pack up and carry my things to a cafe a few blocks away. In the cafe I sit as far away from the employees as possible. I do that mainly because I don’t alway have money to buy something from them. They are all used to seeing me there and I think they assume that I do buy stuff from them – either that or the just don’t care. Either way, they’ve come to expect me to be there, and so don’t think it out of the ordinary. The cafe has good wifi, and plenty of electrical outlets. So, I sit there for several more hours until I get hungry. By then the battery is recharged.
I then go have a sandwich or salad at Subway. The Subway is below an office with open internet. It also has one electrical outlet. And i’m online for a while longer. Around 4pm I get on the trolley and ride it down to the end of the line, which just happens to be a block from the YMCA where I take my showers and where I have a small locker with a couple bags of clothes. One bag for clean clothes, the other for dirty clothes.
After showering and putting on clean clothes I get back into the trolley, heading back to way i came from, back to Park Blvd and Market St. I get off the trolley there and walk a couple blocks to yet another cafe or sandwich shop and hook back up with the internet. There I stay until it’s time to take my spot on the sidewalk for the night. I live in ruts, and this is the rut I currently live in, day after day, as life goes on around me.