The "Get Out Of Your Car!" Fund

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Looking Middle Class While Living in a Car

(This post may seem random, but I've been intending to post it for some time. )

Concealing Homelessness

When I’m in public, I want to look like I’ve stepped out of a vehicle – not slept in a vehicle. In the morning, I want to look like I washed up at home. So I work hard to keep myself clean, hair looking good (not matted down). Since I've been car-camping, I keep my hair braided quite often. 

I keep the car clean and try to keep the inside uncluttered to not draw attention. I used to try to make the bed and covers in the back seat lie down flat during the day. Now that I have a mummy bag, I just stuff it into its bag during the day and leave the whole bag in the back seat. 

I try to keep the number of objects in my car down to a minimum. I want to keep the windows clean and  car vacuumed in between washes, but I haven't been so great at doing that. I was trying to get to the point where I leave work daily as soon as work is done at least 2 days a week.

I’m very mindful of how much time I spend in one place using my computers. I don’t get kicked out of restaurants because I take my laptops and papers and I set up an office space and stay busy. People don’t bother working professionals or students who are studying. One day a McDonald's worker walked over to a guy who was sleeping with his head on the table and told him he can't put his head on the table. He looked like he was so in need of sleep, that I wondered if he, too, was homeless. He wasn't even there as long as I had been. 

To blend in, I may pull up to a sleeping spot and if people are walking around, I will take out my phone and pretend to talk or actually call somebody. I make up excuses for people who are wondering why I was at McDonald's when they called me two hours ago and I’m still there. Or why I need to warm up food in their microwave rather than at home. Or why my trunk is so full.

Aunt Theo rides in my car more than anyone else. I wonder sometimes if she notices anything – trunk full (or how I avoid opening the trunk), houseshoes under the drivers seat, gloves and hand warmer packets in the back seat. Last week I showed up at her house with pants on under my skirt. She asked what was going on. I laughed and told her I refused to get sick this year and it was a cold day that day. I took the pants off once we got to church. I reminded her that I got the flu last year around this time. She laughed and agreed and encouraged me to do whatever I have to do to keep from getting sick. 

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