10 September 2012
Living in different worlds
There is a security (or surveillance, take your pick) camera on the corner of the top level of the parking structure I’ve been calling home lately. It is capable of rotating, although I’m not sure if it can move in a 360 degree path. When I first parked my car in its current spot the camera was facing east. Now it is facing south. There is a portajon, a plastic portable outhouse, in the corner formed by the wall of the parking ramp and the outbuilding that houses the stairwell. The portajon blocks the view of the camera from seeing my car. And, I hope, me. While I don’t know of a specific law that says a person cannot fall asleep in their car, I am sure there is one that mentions homeless people living out of their cars in parking ramps.
I am more than a little stressed about being confronted by some authority figure. Mostly, I don’t want to explain that I’m a homeless veteran with PTSD crashing in my car until I can find a place to live, on account of I was evicted from my last apartment. From what I’ve read in the news, most people presented with that situation do not respond by saying “Oh, well that’s okay then. carry on.” The last thing I want is to be put into a program of some sort. This is my life, I want to figure as much of this out as I can by myself. I feel like I’m the only one that ultimately gives enough of a shit about me to be allowed to make those kinds of decisions.
On the other hand, though, I've found out about some programs that might be helpful. There is one place downtown that offers free laundry service twice a week. Another offers showers two mornings a week. There is an overnight shelter not far away that offers meals and a place to sleep-- it's the same place that the VA homeless coordinator works from. Perhaps pride is getting in the way of me going and talking to him, perhaps it's the idea of surrendering and getting that kind of help. That and I keep believing the answer will come tomorrow, but it never seems to arrive-- the answer, not tomorrow.
In the building where I work, there is a bulletin board with the usual notices about new classes being offered and jobs available for students. On that board is a picture of a guy who I assume is homeless-- on any given day he looks an order or magnitude worse than I do, and I’ve noticed him sleeping at bus stops. The note below the picture explains that he has been banned from the building and several others by the university police. There is no explanation of why. Only instructions to call the non emergency number first, and 911 if there is an emergency situation. So, this guy may be a pain in the ass, but not a life threatening one? Who knows. The worst I’ve seen him doing is sitting in a char by himself-- which I realize I do fairly often during the day when I’m not engaged in anything else.
Several times I’ve dozed off sitting in the same area of the building. I suppose it is not so unusual to see someone that fits the general description of a student sleeping in a study area of an academic building. It is not encouraged though, as I’ve seen people shaken awake in libraries during all night exam study sessions. I worry that I’m going to fall asleep in a chair enough times that someone will notice me, put two and two together, and realize I’m the owner of the car that’s been haunting the parking ramp for nearly a month. Once again, a situation where I’d have to explain what is going on with my life. I don’t want to have to do that. Easier is getting myself out of this situation, making things better, and then being able to tell the story of the semester I started living in my car.
When I moved out of my apartment, I put in a request the post office to hold all of my mail for 30 days. Yesterday, I went to what I thought was the right post office to get my mail, the one closest to campus. Turns out I was wrong, it’s a different on.e. Shit. The postal worker at the counter started to try to tell me how much longer the right office was open that day, where it was etc. I paid attention enough to find out where it was, and then left, leaving him still standing there explaining. He probably thought I left in a huff, but the truth is that I saw no point in being there if they didn’t have my mail.
Also when I moved out, I called in an order for prescription refills. I need to find the right post office tomorrow, so I can get back on schedule with all of my meds. I’m out of bupropion, which is not cool. I know I feel better when all of my meds are on schedule, and right now I don’t feel so great. Sometimes the floor moves when it should not, sometimes I feel dizzy, other times I oscillate between anxious and zoned out. Ick.
The same place that runs the shelter offers mail services. I'm thinking it might be a good idea to have my mail delivered there-- honestly, what bill collector is going to come after me at a homeless shelter? ;)
At work, a friend has been asking me questions about Linux. Tonight, I was using htop, which is a text based system monitoring program, to see why my MacBook was running slow. I explained a bit, and then explained that when we have time I’m going to help her get started with Linux by setting up Linux in a virtual machine on her computer. Of course, virtualization is the same content the data center uses to run many virtual machines on many fewer pieces of actual hardware....
Her response (said in a good way): “Wow, you really live in a different world.”
I couldn’t help but agree.