Friday, November 29, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Below Freezing, Homeless People, and Christmas Lists

This week, it finally decided to really be winter. It's gotten cold a few times, lately, but I woke up with it SOLIDLY below freezing this past week. There was even ice on my car a few times. However . . . I've been doing well and keeping warm. VERY warm, actually One of my good friends from work who figured out that I'm homeless offered to let me stay at his place if I ever need to with no questions asked, and I assured him that I'm doing well - I've actually woken up sweating a few times. Yay for space heaters and Eagle Scout experience, I suppose.

Since it's Thanksgiving today (well, it won't be by the time I post this), I did the cliche thing and thought about what I'm thankful for. I won't launch into a list, but my mind settled on the topic of people who are truly homeless, and not by choice. I know that a lot of them are in that situation because of poor life decisions and irresponsibility, but that's not true of all people facing hard times, especially these days. My heart goes out to people who struggle with seemingly no hope or way to climb out of the hardships piled upon them. I remember how hard it was to register to vote as a homeless person (funny story - I'll have to write about that later); I can't imagine how hard it must be to fill out a job application when you have nothing to write on the "Home Address" line. I have no idea what will come of this blog, if it will ever help anyone, or if it will gain notoriety of any sort, but perhaps I can use it to highlight the plight of those whom are homeless by no fault of their own. Perhaps I can somehow lend them a hand and use this blog to encourage others to do so, too.

My family and girlfriend have started to ask me what I want for Christmas, but this year, it's far more difficult than before. Last year, I had a few things that I wanted (and I was homeless then, too), but this year, I can only come up with a handful of things, none of which are particularly noteworthy or exceptional. Seriously, though, it's not like I need a new TV, a computer, movies, kitchen gadgets, new linens, or anything that I might normally put on a Christmas list. However, when people ask me why I don't want or need anything, there's no good way to tell them that it's because I'm living in my car, I don't need much, and I can't store a lot of stuff, anyway. I actually asked my girlfriend if it would be okay if I gave her a list of suggestions for things I would buy if I were her and have her buy them for herself instead of spending money on me. She's still spent the money, I'm happy because I don't have to wonder if I'm getting her something she'll like (or get in trouble for spoiling her), and she's happy because she got something. That's an even trade, right . . . ?

Happy Dead Bird Day!

(This is the cover of the book "Manifold Destiny," a cookbook about cooking on your exhaust manifold. I didn't cook Thanksgiving dinner this way . . . but maybe I should have . . . )


Thursday, November 21, 2013

I Broke the #1 Rule

I talked about Fight Flub.

I told a coworker. Then, she slipped up and told my boss by accident (long story), and now he's seen my blog. He's a nice guy, so he decided he wasn't going to even bring it up unless I did. Then another coworker guessed it, and since he's a good friend of mine, I told him. The first lady told a few other people, so I have no doubt that they've been here, too. Overall, I'm not TOO concerned, for the moment, but in an effort to remain anonymous and keep things quiet, I hope to limit how quickly this spreads - I don't exactly want my senior director finding out . . .

Anyway, in light of the fact that the cat has gotten out of the bag a little bit, I thought I'd post something she recently sent to me - it's fairly funny, actually:

Your lifestyle does these things: 
  • Keeps you from being able to bring strange women home
  • Keeps women from finding out how strange you are (just a bonus)
  • Keeps you from saying yes to taking peoples pets in while they vacation
  • Keeps house plants to a minimum
  • Makes hoarding impossible
  • Keeps you from spending extravagantly on window treatments
  • Keeps your sewage and water bills at zero
  • And finally: it means that home is truly everywhere you are (if you car is running correctly)
There are some interesting takeaways here that really are true. First, I'm lucky to have a great girlfriend who was with me before all of this started, and it's not likely that I'd be able to start a relationship while living out of my car. She's been helpful and supportive along the way, not to mention the fact that I've had a backup bed to sleep in if I REALLY need it.

Also, being homeless really does simplify things and make me think about what is truly necessary or important. Do I really need to keep that craft beer bottle for my collection? I know that I'll eventually have a place, but is it worth buying new TV at the Black Friday sale just because it's a great deal? I turn down a lot of things because I'm forced to, but it's truly forced me to realize just how little I need to get by in life. In reality, I'm doing far better than just "getting by," a fact that reminds me just how truly blessed I am to live where I live and have what I have.