This is probably the worst part of car dwelling for me. We have relatively safe parking, but that doesn’t make it judgment free. No less than ten people walked by our car this morning. Five of them stared in at us. And that was just the ones who passed by while I was awake.
There’s no privacy in a car. Anyone walking by can look in and see you. And they will because humans are curious creatures who want to see what that is. And when they see that it’s two people sleeping in the front seat of a car, the assumptions start.
I’ve mentioned getting hassled by the cops before. This is why. We’d try parking in residential areas. The owner would look out and see two people sleeping in a car and call the cops to “perform a wellfair check.” (Lol, pretending cops are here to help.)
We never slept in the same place twice, but it just started happening every day anyway, every time we dared venture out of the gym parking lot. One time, we hadn’t even slept there. We’d been sitting there for an hour while we waited for the library to open.
We, as a society, like to pretend there’s no homeless problem. We especially don’t like to think about what we might have done to contribute to it. So when folk see the two of us sleeping outside, they react with alarm and disgust. We have to be lazy or evil, we have to be getting what we deserve, because otherwise, we live in a society where even a polite young white couple can’t get help.
But at the same time, we also have to be victims. We’re not allowed to be OK sleeping in a parking lot. We’re homeless! We have to be beaten down by life and probably broke and on drugs! Because that makes sense, right? People with no money buying drugs?
Fun fact: it’s actually possible to make a pretty good living while homeless, and I’m not talking about begging. Kate and I are freelance transcription editors. As long as the library is open, we can make between $500 and $1500 a month. And without rent eating into that amount, we’ll be able to put most of it away into savings for an RV, or maybe even a real home.
The point is, homed folks, next time you wake up to see some people sleeping in front of your house, just leave them alone. They’ll be gone in another hour or so anyway. If you really care about helping and not just getting rid of them, leave some breakfast on the hood of their or slip some money under windshield wiper. Calling the cops just makes their day worse.