There is nothing sweeter than the moment before you drift off to sleep in your car. It’s like the world, no the universe stands still. And for a moment it doesn’t matter that I have $21,000 left of student loan debt, or that I live in my car or that I have OCD. For a moment I have made peace with my personal demons and found security in a world surrounded by anxiety, doubt and uncertainty. Enough, that my body could surrender to the Great Mystery and I could journey into the Dream World.
But sometimes, life comes to collect karmic debt, robbing you of your temporary sense of security and stability. And then in an instant you aren’t dreaming, you’ve woken up and you’re startled because there is a tow truck shining it’s light on you, and you’re so tired you think you are being abducted by aliens. The scene was something out of a well done ‘Fire in the Sky’ re-make and needless to say, I was literally shaking in my sleeping bag.
The awkwardness that followed would have been enough to make anyone second guess why on Earth anyone would decide to give everything up and live in their car. I was asleep and it was hot so I was in a tank top with no bra. I had no socks on and my flip flops had carelessly been thrown in the backseat abyss. I struggled to find a jacket to cover myself and find some shoes while a middle aged black man stared at me from the driver’s side of his vehicle.
After 30 seconds of awkwardness that felt like an eternity I turned my car on, rolled down the window and greeted the stranger with a sort of disinterested, I don’t give a f**k but I’m actually having an anxiety attack on the inside, look. As soon as he spoke I felt a little bit of relief- he was a brother and understood I was living in my car. He said some of the businesses noticed I was sleeping in my car and they weren’t too happy about it. He said he wasn’t going to tow me, but suggested I move my car down the way to the nearby car repair shop.
At this point I made some grumbling noises and mumbled thank you before leaving. I wish I had asked some better questions like “did you take down my information, which business called, when did you receive the call?”, but I was still half way asleep and so surprised I had a tough time finding the right words.
A little back story before I continue: I was trying out a new spot with less light pollution (more on that devil later) since the spot I usually park at was occupied, and my number two spot was compromised by the repairmen working late into the night. I knew I was pretty exposed and could see the cameras pointing right at me, but I was never there during business hours and I figured they wouldn’t care. Plus it was SO wonderful to not have the streetlights beating down on me when I tried to sleep that I figured it was worth the risk.
After the gentlemen left I half angrily and anxiously drove near my old car repair spot- of course they were slaving away at 11:15 at night. I sighed realizing I would have to drive to my number 4 spot which was a good 6 miles away and MUCH further from where I parked my car daily. After texting a girlfriend and some positive self talk, I drove to the other 24 hour gym and settled on a dark street lane adjacent to a grocery store. There was a trucker pulled off, which is a pretty good indicator of a safe tow free zone.
By the time I was settled and ready for bed, nearly and hour and a half had passed and it was passed 1 am. Exhausted and still shaking from shock, I snuggled into my bed and fell asleep- thankful to have avoided a costly tow and completely over this whole car camping thing.
As soon as I woke up the next morning I realized two things. One, I needed to blog about this to my followers and two I needed to fast track my tumbling weed journey. If I was going to pay off my student loans I needed to get a second job and fast track my journey to housing. I hadn’t realized until the tow that living in my car is awesome and interesting, but it’s all messy, cramped and stressful too. And despite how good it feels to drop $2K a month on my student loans, living in your car is a struggle. The little things like getting dressed, keeping hydrated, the changing weather and staying powered up and connected can be exhausting. Up until this event I hadn’t realized how stressed and burned out I had become over the last month. It had been nearly 2 weeks since my last home cooked meal and four weeks since I slept on a real bed. Plus I had been getting careless about my budget, splurging where I wanted and not rotating my parking spots. Did I mention I also had a careless teeny-weeny fender bender?
Clearly, the struggle is real and the tow situation was a wake up call. No more cutting corners. No more easy does it. More more lazy slacker. It’s time to dig in, buckle up and re-commit because I am only halfway there and if I am going to make it to December without incident, I need to re-commit.
So this is me officially re-committing. And with you followers as my witness, I WILL overcome my current feelings of apathy, agitation and exhaustion to see this thing through. My financial well-being and sense of freedom very well depend on it.