Living in the car

I’ve been officially homeless for quite a while, but as of yesterday I’ve transitioned into extra officially homeless status. Woo-hoo!

Yesterday was a strange and largely unpleasant day. I had to be out of the house by 11, which I managed. Now what?

That was a very pertinent question. I had nowhere to go. The car was packed to the gunwales with my stuff, as well as Rigby, nestled in the back seat. The prospect for the night was sleeping in the car, which wasn’t particularly enticing. In any case, I had to make it through the day first.

I found it incredibly difficult. When your car is your home base you’re pretty limited, and much, much more so when you have a dog in your care. Basically I was tied to the car. It was a warm, muggy day, and I couldn’t leave Rigby by himself in the car more than 30 minutes  at a time.

I drove from one place to another. I had coffee in one place to kill some time. A couple of hours later I found another cafe I could sit outdoors and had another coffee, this time with Rigby. We went to several parks throughout the day. We walked. Once I sprawled in a park reading a book while Rigby chewed on a pork hock.

Other times we sat in the car with the engine running so that the air-con would work. Must have done that three times in three different parking lots. Rigby panted in the back, no doubt wondering what was going on, as I was.

It was mindless and mind-numbing. I couldn’t do anything practical. I had the opportunity to meet with someone regarding an opportunity, but had to re-schedule. I couldn’t get online in any meaningful way. I sat wedged in a car driving from one place to another to kill time. It was infuriating because I don’t have the time to waste. I have to make it count, but couldn’t – and was faced with the prospect of another fortnight of this.

I had thought sleeping in the car would be harder, but I realised worst still is consciously living such and aimless existence. At different times it got me down badly. This is not going to work, I thought. I can’t exist like this. It went against what I had been telling myself: it will be tough, but endure this and it will get easier. It was something I just had to survive for the greater good, and perhaps, I thought, this is my due anyway.

Other considerations came into play, quite unusual, but very real considerations. How am I going to feed Rigby? What am I going to do about showering? How am I going to manage changing my clothes? I have a number of appointments over the next week and I wondered how I would manage them given these challenges.

In the end I rang a couple of friends to see if I could pop by over the period to use their shower. I feel a bit guilty about that, a tad manipulative. It was a legitimate request, but what it did was make my situation real for them. That’s not my style, but I felt passive-aggressive in doing it.

Last night I went to a friend’s place for that reason, and ended up staying. It was a great relief obviously, but the funny thing is that last night felt like one of the best nights for some time. He had to go to yoga and left me there. I had a shower then I sat on the back deck and finished a good book. The clamminess of the day was relieved by a cool evening breeze. In the next room the Australian Open was on. Perhaps it was pure relief, but I felt unexpectedly tranquil.

I have a bed again tonight, but after that I don’t know. I have a place to go on Feb 2 for a month, just need to get through to then.


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