Friday, July 30, 2010

The Dirty South

OK. Lets catch up. Moab.

Ive been to (well more like through) Moab once before. It was great. Dave and I packed up our girlfriends and some camping stuff and headed down there to try and make it to the Grand Canyon. We never made it the the canyon but made it through Arches National Park where we climbed some arches, bummed a campsite and made breakfast on a spire. We went to Lake Powell and some other places too and it was incredible. This trip was different.

I work for a place called Provo Canyon School, a residential treatment center for kids age 8-15 who have some problems developmentally here and there. Pretty nasty kids actually. So we decided to take 15 of them down to Moab for three days for some recreational therapy. Two 15 passenger vans, 15 boys, 7 staff members, a pickup truck and trailer full of food and supplies and we're off! We got down there around 4pm on Tuesday. When we got out of the car it was drizzling (which never happens down there) and we thought it would go away in a few minutes so started unpacking. Then it began to pour, a straight up monsoon. So we got soaked at the campsite and so did all our stuff. The kids didnt mind. Those little effers were just happy to be outside of their little prison school. We hit up the Arches visitors center. Waited for the rain to stop. When it did we went back and set up camp and cooked dinner. Hot dogs of course. But a BUTT TON of hot dogs. We let the kids goof off for a long time until it was real late then forced them all in their tents and I watch them to make sure they werent sneaking around or cutting up until I got too tired and too tired of it at 2:30am then it was off to bed, or I mean off to tent.

The next day was the same, french toast for breakfast, hiking the Fiery Furnace which was very very cool, Delicate Arch, Balanced rock, lunch back at the campsite, swimming in the Colorado River (whose temperature was absolutely perfect and it was the cleanest river I ever saw), steak dinner with bacon, potatoes, carrots, and Tang, night games, s'mores, cobbler, bed. The kids were exhausted so I got to go to bed early and slept pretty well, considering my back problems. We woke up, packed up, cleaned up, and headed out. Stopped at a giant sand dune to have a row. It was tons of fun that part. We were basically skiing in the sand without skis. Then we stopped for lunch at the Wendys in Price, Ut. Those poor workers having to deal with 15 loud selfish disturbed kids, just as smelly as their seven adult mentors. I then had to chase a kid who unfortunately did not get his meds in the morning through the parking lot and tackled him. Some good citizens of Price thought I was abducting slash kidnapping slash raping the young man and called the cops. This is a situation that has happened to me in the past and it is always kind of silly to deal with when youre laying on a kid and three cop cars pull up and want to know what the eff is going on. But we took care of it and headed home! Got back at 4pm on Thursday and unpacked. Then I hopped on my bike and went home.

Now I needed a shower in the WORST WAY. Usually I can go without or wait til I go to the gym or something. Impossible today. I had to start calling around for available showers. My friend Dave lovingly obliged. But when I got there he wasnt there but his roommate was and pointed me in the direction of the shower. Showering at a strangers house is like a one night stand. Its awkward, your just there to get some, you have no intentions of doing it again, but when its all over you feel like there is a need to sort of hang out after. So I shower and get dressed and come downstairs. I dont want to just leave because it would seem I was just there to use them so I hung out and watched some TV while I charged my phone. It was actually really great to just sit and watch TV. My next one night stand will end with some TV watching I guess. Breaks the tension. So now its Friday and I have to go back to work tonight. Whatever. I need money. I like it. I hate it. Ill take it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Itinerary for this week!

Monday: Sleep. FHE. Baby Ghosts.

Tuesday: Leave for Moab (for work, I get paid suckers!)

Wednesday: Moab

Thursday: Return from Moab. Sleep probably

Friday: Party til you Puke

Saturday, July 24, 2010


So in January I started having some minor back pains. I would go three weeks feeling just fine then bend down to pick something up and my back would just lock up and I wouldnt be able to move for a few seconds, it being very very painful. Then it would go away in a matter of minutes and I would be fine again. So, although that worried me, it wasnt enough for me to do anything about it. I thought that maybe it was a pulled muscle. Not so. Because as time went on it progressively worsened. And recently it has climaxed into an almost debilitating pain. It burns in my buttocks, down my left leg and hurts all the time, especially when I sit down. I did some research today and went to the doctor and found out that is is Sciatica. This is a nerve irritation, inflamation, or obstruction of the sciatic nerve endings in the lower back. Apparently it can be fixed..... maybe. I need to do some physical therapy type things and exercises etc. If those dont work Ill have to move on to medications. So you can imagine living in a van is not the best environment for nursing a bad back back to full strength. Its proving quite tough. However I think its gonna be just fine in no time at all. And oh what a feeling it will be to be rid of such an annoying, yet terrible pain.

Other than that, all is fine on the van front. The weather here is consistently in the upper nineties in the daytime and sixties in the night. Which is perfect for me! Im riding my bike a ton! And work is nice. We are stocking up on good movies to watch good strategies to use in Risk. Church is awesome as usual. Im teaching a mission prep class tomorrow and though I feel like the last person on earth that should be teaching about that, Im excited because I love teaching. Ive been hanging out with a lot of really cool people this week and have been having lots of fun! Ive been blessed so much with people who are somehow ok with helping me. Mel, who lets me break into her house sometimes, the girls who let me eat nachos and annoy them whenever I want, Lori who let me get ignored by her nieces, and my whole ward for always being awesome. When my vehicles broke down I wrote my bishop and asked him for any help or advice and he found me a bike, which was given me for free. And it has been the most amazing, valuable blessing ever. Plus I love riding it. I dont deserve anything, any of this, and yet people freely give of themselves and it blows my mind. I hope that I can pay it all back someday.

Til next time.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

No Direction Home

I fear that Ive made my first mistake in homelessness. Wandering. It seems so harmless, adventurous even. I was on my way home when a thought that a Gaatorade would seem really great before bed came to me. So I took a left and headed to Seven Eleven (Sevey for a Bevey). It felt good to not have to be anywhere. At midnight in Provo, it was very relaxing to not have to fight college traffic and just cruise the streets. However it got addicting. After satiating my thirst it wasnt enough. I went to Smiths. Zig Zagged through the aisles a bit and bought some Nutter Butter Bites. Sat outside for a long time and ate and watched and observed. Then I made my way home, slowly and reluctantly. I realized that the difference between me and the other guys is a schedule. An itinerary. I need structure. I am the architect of my life and soul and do not want to build with sand. It scared that I could see myself just slipping into a wanderers attitude. Sick. It makes me sick. So sad. Was it even worth it? Times a million!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Worn Down

Things I miss already:

Getting dressed standing up
Brushing my teeth in a sink
A stove
Air Conditioning
Being attractive to the opposite sex
My scooter
Cold Water

Without these things you get worn down. However, its interesting to me to see how easily, if naturally, Ive slipped into vagabond life. I sleep well now. Only the loud gossip filled phone conversations of married women as they get into their cars to leave to work or to run errands can wake me up now. I hold on to the things I have. My bike. My collection of music. My books. My body. My relationships. Its so funny to me how quickly Im changing! I see this one homeless man all the time. He walks up and down University all day every day. At some point each day he stops at the Provo library and unloads the shopping cart full of things he drags along with him. He unravels all the cloth in there, spreading it on the library lawn, and separates the things he's collected or acquired and then he leaves his cart for the shade of a tree. There he curls up and naps. I used to look at him as so weak. A man who has let life's experiences beat him into submission. I dont know anymore. I dont know what he has done or where he has come from. I dont know anything about him and I realize that now. What I HAVE come to realize these past couple of weeks is how precious the very few things I now have are to me, and how at the same time I know I could cope and move on without them. And Ive learned what a great big thing it is to get into the shade during the day. Ive learned how to live in sync with my body, its functions, the weather, the town, its movements, consistencies and inconsistencies with my surroundings and how they affect me everyday. I may not know anything about that man and likey never would have connected or related to him in any way, staying completely apart from him without my recent experiences. But now I know a little bit of him. I know why he sleeps in the shade. And maybe I know why he retraces his steps, pacing all the days of the week, too-ing and fro-ing along the same street. Because I think the one thing Ive realized about this lifestyle Ive taken on is that you have to keep moving. If you slow down you'll stop. And if you stop and let your life and the world go by, you very well could lose yourself. So you just gotta keep moving. No matter what. And with that.... comes the wear down.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

On the Borders...

So I decided to ride my bike down the the Borders Book Store. Its not so far away. Took me about fifteen minutes. I used to come here a lot with this girl Emily who was as siked about History as I was and heard there was free Wi-Fi so I came on down! This is a skinny happy me between the book shelves!

Also.... I figured out I can take pictures with my webcam on my computer. So now I have laptop.....AND....... a digital camera that looks a bunch like my laptop! Maybe now I can get some live shots and video of the mobile man cave Ive constructed.

Its hot today. Im going swimming. Peace.

First Good Night of Sleep in the Van

Having parked the van in an underground parking deck, I slept like a child last night! The only weird part is timing my exit well, so as to not creep anyone out that there is a guy that lives in a van down here. Someone is talking on their phone right now a couples spaces away, so here I wait and write until I can get out! It not like i really have anywhere to go anyway. Thats the thing about being homeless though. If you dont keep yourself busy, and stay vigilant at staying social and not slipping into solitude and obscurity you will end up like all those other homeless people. You know, the ones who scare you and make you wonder where their family is and why no one loves them. I wonder if that will happen to me. I wonder if those people are happier or worse for it. I wonder how long it would take. Well it wont be today thats for sure! Because Im going swimming and to the library and camping and all sorts of stuff! So take that solitude! Hey and I might even call my mother..... who loves me.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Where I lay my head is home

Yes. I just quoted Metallica. Im writing from the van. Its midnight and I about to fall into a deep deep sleep. The van is in its secure little parking spot and all is quite out there in Provo as far as I can tell. It smells like Cantaulope in here right now. Not sure why. Except that I have two of them in here with me. I think Ill eat them in the morning. On the playlist for tomorrow: swimming. setting up for camping all week at Rock Canyon. Writing my stories. And reading. Hopefully that will be all. The days lately go by like water under the bridge, like miles on the highway, like crushes and love. Everything is getting mixed up in everything else and I must say its exhilerating. I feel in a constant state of motion. Though I ironically spend a lot of my time in this car that doesnt move at all. I have taken some cool photos and cant wait to share them. Ill try and get to that tomorrow. Later dudes.

The Boom Town Rats were Right!

I dont like Mondays now. It a hard time for me. I get off of my last shift at 9am and search for a cool place to sleep during the hot afternoon. I went to the park. Too sunny. Also, Im afraid that I'll look soooooo asleep out there that someone will think Im dead and investigate, causing a scene. I text friends for open doors and open couches. No answer. Then I go out to my van and find a note on it saying: To whom it may concern, blah blah blah we are a tree service and are trimming the shady tree you are parked underneath and request you move your vehicle (my vehicle is currently not working) or we will be forced to use more direct means of persuasion. What a crock! So I get some guys in my neighborhood (Logan and Dan) to help me push it underneath the apartment building where I used to live and we push and park it in an empty spot in the shadows of the parking structure. For all the trouble it turns out this has been a fortuitous turn of events for from this quiet and undisturbed corner of the lot, and from inside the van, i write this. Thats right effers! Free homeless Wi-Fi! Im currently propped up on the side of the car in here with two ice packs on my stomach and chest, trying desperately, if tirelessly to bring my body temp down. And now I lay me down to nap. I am going to see Inception today for a matinee and want to be in peak mental capacity for it. Ellen Page, if you only knew the things I do for you. Wish me luck and until next time....

The Street Rat

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Hey Lush! Have Fun! Its the Weekend!

Yeah right. Being homeless SUCKS! Its hot. Balls hot. I rode thirty plus miles on my bike yesterday between work (7 miles one way) and errands and stuff. I havent stopped sweating since I last had an apartment with air conditioning. The weekend is shaping up to be the worst part of homelessness for me. I work nightwatch shifts at a school slash prison for delinquent youths from 11pm til 9am friday, saturday, and sunday. When I got out of work today, Saturday morning, I was exausted. My body was not able to recover from all of the cycling I did on Friday because I wasn't able to sleep and I still had seven miles til I got back to the van. Its already 90 degrees at 9am. I hate my life. So I call my friend Pearl up and she consents to lend me her bed for the afternoon. I sleep. Sort of. She has a butt ton of cats.

Friday, July 16, 2010

SUCCESS! ....... sorta

My first night in the van! As Amanda and I were making the curtains the other day we were running into problems. The sticky part of the velcro was clogging up and jamming her sewing machine and bending my needles as I tried to do it by hand. So finally I got brilliant! I decided to just staple it and it worked out very nicely. So with the curtains up all around and everything I needed for a one man slumber party, I was officially in the van.
I keep the windows open for air circulation and it helps but at the same time me and my body are not used to falling asleep to the sounds passers by and passing cars, and speed demon motorcycles zipping by (you can hear those little effers for miles!) So falling asleep was somewhat tedious. I also noticed that the part of the street I chose to park on slopes down to the curb from the middle of the road so I was lying at an angle. That will take some getting used to, or ultimately some remedying. It took me about two hours to really fall asleep.
I woke up pretty early to the sounds of a diesel truck parallel parking behind me. And at this point in the slumber party I realized a few things.
1. This is not a slumber party. As awesome as it is...... it still sucks a little bit
2. There is no bathroom. I cant get up to pee in the middle of the night. Unless I have to in which case....... hello bushes.
3. The street Im on may not be the best choice. I need to find a less busy avenue. Or! I think I have some friends with driveways. A driveway would be the equivalent of me living in a gated community! I could do that.
4. The street is a paranoid place to be. You are always wondering if youre being watched or if you'll be caught even though youre not doing anything wrong
5. I am homeless.

SO my next steps are to get a cooler. One that can go on the back of my bike and in the van. Then I start organizing my things into tupperware cubbies. Next, try and get the van moved to a driveway or less busy street. Then.... I need a shower. Ill let you know how that goes. I think I can take one at the gym today.
So all in all what have I learned from my first day of homelessness? .....This will be tough, but what isn't these days. Eff it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ive put together a list of things that qualify as necessities for me to be able to honorably move into my minivan. They are as follows:

- Vacuum, clean and sanitize all surfaces
- Store back seats
- Bedding (a two inch pad, butt ton of blankets, pillows. For now)
- Shelving (not super important, but you know what they say... The minivan of God is a minivan of order)
- A Cooler. I think this will be a welcome companion in the Utah summer nights.
- Curtains. Amanda my dear friend is cutting me up some curtains that I can velcro to the ceiling and side panels on the inside all around the car. Just because Im blogging about it doesnt mean Im ok with passers by staring at me in the morning while I sleep.
- Air Fresheners. If the van smells like apple pie and I close my eyes.... Ill be just fine
- Coleman Camping Stove. Unless of course I am ok with eating refried beans, tuna, veggies, and rice at room temperature. Which I am. For now.
- Sanitary options. I'd like to be able to have a set of dishes in there that I can reuse. I just need a system for small scale dishwashing. Ill figure it out.
- Toiletries, Clothes, Books, Paperwork, Food. I need each of these items to fit into categorized bins. The theory is that I become 100% mobile. I can be ready for a full day - meals, shower, school, work, etc. - and carry all items I would need on my back.
- Mirror
- Lantern
- Coolants. By this I mean things to help keep me cool at night

This is a start. I will be going to the Uncle Sam's Army Navy Store this week to shop and hopefully pick up some of these items. I highly recommend that place. Its balls awesome. For now though, I simply have the bed, and a light. Ill be adding as I go, fixing the place up to my liking. So its off I go now, into the life of a street rat, a gutter urchin, a nobody. From the Dust wence I was formed. Wish me luck. Ill see you in the morning and will give a full update on what its like to leave society behind. Sweet Dreams sheep.

Day 1: Moving In

It's July 15th, 2010. I live in Provo Utah and have had enough. The recession has been going on for years now and it still turns my stomach to rot if I start talking about it, debating the issues, solutions, etc. Im still scared to lose my job and to never be able to find another one. I feel a little short changed. I know every generation has their cross to bear, yet I cant help but feel resentment toward the folks who got us into this mess. Granted we are all to blame. Will it ever get better? Will I ever be out of debt? Is there an angel or an omen around that next corner? Im not waiting to find out. Ive read enough Bible stories and decoded enough cryptic scripture to know whats coming. The future is a cartooned cloud, dark and full of cold cold rain, and its always right above you, lingering and smirking. Where ever you go, there it is. Staring down on you, reading your every move, and secretly joining forces with your past to plot against you. So Ive decided to make a move. Ill slip out of my dingy little one bedroom apartment in the cover of night, while my future sleeps. Ill pack what things I can carry in my hankerchief but I wont need much. Ive made ready my van, and can hold up there until this all blows over. I wont be leaving a forwarding address and I'll change my number to throw them all off the scent. Welcome to the fallout shelter of my life.