LAST EDIT: NOVEMBER 28
Sometimes there are stories that we really do not want to write. Sometimes these stories plague our dreams and haunt our days. They remind us, chillingly, of the fragility of the human condition – especially of our own insecurities.
I am a decent human being. At least, I would think so. I struggle to live. I struggle to survive in this cold and crude world just the same as everyone else. But I am, as it is often pointed out, only human.
And being only human, I can not possibly articulate the position of every single atom in the universe relative to this dimension in space and time – thus I cannot predict the future. In my inability to predict the future, I am also unable to predict the consequences of certain actions that I take.
Let’s cut straight to the chase, because that’s the only way that I can think of to open this article: on Friday, October 10th, I moved into an apartment complex on campus after five / six months of living in my car. After having settled comfortably into my new living space, I feel more comfortable in having conversations with others about my recent precarious predicament and the unmeasured stress that resulted.
I am not here, now going to delve into the reasons of why I found myself living in the back of my Subaru. The fact is that I was. And it wasn’t pleasant. For showers, I used my gym membership at the University Recreation center. For food, I petitioned University Dining services for a meal plan while I wasn’t attending school.
To occupy my time, I spent my waking hours looking for jobs. Every day, for months, I would walk the four blocks up to the campus of Western Washington University – where I was enrolled to attend Fall quarter – and attempt to live out some semblance of a decent life. I would use the on-campus equipment every day to keep up with the wide world of job hunting. Computers, printers, photo copiers. Over this period of time, I applied to well over 50 separate jobs – I had callbacks on a few, interviews on a few more – but I never did get a job.
For entertainment, I watched movies and television shows on the internet. I would display them on the giant projectors at my university. Each classroom at my university is equipped with a full media block; PC, DVD player, VHS player, laptop cable, HDMI cable, microphone jack, and projector.
That is, until school started. Mind you, the majority of time that I lived in my car was during the spring and summer, while I was on “leave” from the University. When school started, I was still living in my car, but I would alter my schedule from going straight to the computers to apply for jobs – and I would head off to class.
Another thing. I did travel a little during this time. Since I am in the National Guard, I have commitments to make sure that I wind up at the Armory every month. My government commitments also found me in Washington, D.C. a couple of times (remember, military flights are free for me). So, I was not completely hopeless.
But living in my car has taught me a few extremely valuable lessons. I am still trying to exactly define what they are. Perhaps one day, I will write a book about it.