The Wanderlust Misfit

Don't Run From Anything, Run Towards Everything

Archive for the tag “vagabond”

Second Night Camping Outside In Los Angeles

The marina in Marina Del Rey, Los Angeles looks like a tree. There is one main waterway used for coming in and out and along this are several branches on either side. Along one of these branches is a public promenade, brick with a lovely view of all of the yachts. There is an apartment here, an upscale apartment building about ten stories tall and the length of two football fields. The buildings are lined with tall, thick bushes that have an overhang above them. I posted yesterday that I had found a way into these bushes and that there is a good four feet between the bushes and the wall. This is where I am going to be sleeping. There are lights every so often that are placed in the dirt and behind one these lights there is somewhat of a hole, a place where the branches of two bushes don’t quite meet. This is where I slipped in. Last night I got to the promenade around ten, waited till the coast was clear, heaved my knapsack into the bushes and threw myself in right behind it. The bushes are up on a four foot wall that has these green, squishy plants (I have no clue what they’re called) that droop over the wall. I crushed these somewhat and I’m hoping no one notices. I climbed in to set up camp. I have a tarp rolled up with my sleeping bag and I decided to use this to keep me out of the dirt, lying my sleeping bag on top of it. The tarp crinkles like every other tarp and I had to stop and be still whenever I heard people coming by. I got myself set up, grabbed my copy of A Farewell To Arms, my notebook, the roach and candy and crawled back out of the bushes and found a bench on the promenade that overlooked the marina. I re-rolled the roach, got stoned, and had something akin to a panic attack. Here’s what I wrote while sitting there:

There is a long dock in the marina lined on both sides with white, showful, fifty foot yachts. On the glittering stone dock just beside each lazily rocking yacht is a knee-high octagonal column. These columns have small yellow lights that show the beginnings of the arms of the dock which people use to access their yachts. As I’m sitting here writing I am alone. My sleeping bag and other belongings are behind the bushes that line the apartment to my back. This is a very proper, upscale promenade of little, manicured dogs and sweatless joggers. I can’t wait to see the reactions I provoke when I crawl out of the bushes in the morning.

    I’ve been thinking of a plane ticket home. It sucks out here. The vagabonding, at least. Perhaps I need to meet other vagabonds to show me the ideas. Or maybe I just need to dive into it like all the jumps to the fringe I’ve taken. I still have some money left and the real fear is this running out. I’ll see how it goes tomorrow and decide whether or not to wait this out until I find a job. Or if I should try to repair things with Marcia and be open with and see if she’ll let me stay till I get a job and therefore a room.

    Also, very importantly, after smoking that roach from the sidewalk I became sickened about the thought of living on the street. It was anxiety, the nervousness, that helplessness; that feeling that juggles in your stomach. All this disappeared when I began to write. Writing, which I do from the Universal, restored my Individual. This is very profound, because does not the Ego come from the Id? Did not the Founder of Hell fall from Heaven?

The point from this is that I was feeling as though I had lost control, as if I were no longer in control of the events that carve my destiny, therefore helpless. I felt without a will. Writing vanquished this feeling. Writing restored my Ego. I find that very interesting.

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Homeless? Or Just Camping Outside In a Big City?

Last night I decided to turn down the offer from Couchsurfing. I would’ve only been staying there one night and I didn’t want to delay what I saw as inevitable. So, after going back to Marcia’s one last time to gather up everything and to pack my knapsack, I headed out beneath the lights of Venice Beach to find a place to ‘camp‘. — You’re never homeless when you realize the whole damn planet is here for you to live on.

So it isn’t being ‘homeless‘, it’s just that ‘you’re camping outside in a city for a while and your tent happens to be a tarp’.

My plan was to scout out the marina, see if and when a patrol boat went around, and then find a boat far enough out of sight that I could sleep without being disturbed. To get to there I took the bike path that goes past the bird sanctuary, hoping either I could get over the fence and into the bird sanctuary (I saw industrial-sized rat cages in there) or find a place off to the side of the bike path. The bike path is lined with bushes and there’s a small hill before one long fence that separates the bike path from private backyards. The whole area is dark and quiet and I saw plenty of bushes and trees that would’ve hidden me from sight and made decent places to ‘camp’. I thought about leaving my knapsack here while I went to explore the marina but I saw a couple of old food containers lying around with empty 40’s: classic homeless refuse. I’m by myself out here and I’m not sleeping anywhere near crack-addicts or the otherwise mentally-disturbed, let alone leaving all my meager belongings somewhere where these fine society-folk congregate.

I kept an eye out for places to hunker down, mentally marking the woods near a road-work site, dark spots on the beach and a little nook formed by bushes and tennis-courts. I made it to the marina around eight and people were out everywhere, out for dinner and out to get their shoes shined or whatever else the well-off and fancy do. Point is, there were a lot of people walking around and a kid with a big knapsack isn’t inconspicuous: getting onto a boat won’t be possible until much later at night. I told myself I’d wait till the morning when I could stash my knapsack somewhere safe and then go explore the marina. I went back to the nook I’d spotted.

The nook was just off the sidewalk, up a small hill of shrubs and behind a line of six-foot-tall bushes. The bushes began where the wall of a round, concrete building ended and I could see a small gap between the bushes and the wall for me to slip through. I hadn’t any idea what the building was, it was circular and concrete and had no visible doors or windows. On the other side of this building, though, were a couple of tennis courts, and behind the bushes the cornering of two fences from these tennis courts formed this nook. All of this was out in front of a very expensive looking hotel, one you would imagine had marble floors and chandeliers and famous people snorting very expensive cocaine from the asses of very expensive hookers in a hot tub in a crystal suite on the top floor (praise to the specifics!) This nook of mine was a twelve by five-foot concrete slab hidden from view from the hotel and the street. Better still, I didn’t see any empty 40’s or bags of trash.

I had way too much fun setting up ‘camp’. I felt like an eight year old building a blanket fort in his living room, except that I was twenty-four, had only a tarp and string and a sleeping bag, and was in fact sleeping outside in a city instead of a living room. But still, fun it was. I spent at least half an hour testing all the different ways I found I could string a tarp to a fence. I wound up stringing two corners of the tarp about waist-high to the fence on the right and tied a third corner to the fence in front of me, but way down at the bottom of the fence.

I stayed warm in there and fell asleep rather quick,  but every so often I’d wake up with a sore hip or a sore elbow and have to shift around on the concrete till I got comfortable. And traffic kept coming by, which I’d expected, but I was hoping that from hearing it for the past two weeks in Marcia’s apartment it would have become something like white-noise. The brief periods of silence between waves of traffic were tranquilizing and I imagined a long stretch of empty pavement and streetlights in the dark and this is how I fell asleep. Until I woke again to shift around. I felt safe here, something I’d realized was very important, because the next morning when I went back along the bike trail I saw several people covered up sleeping. In a round thicket of rose bushes on the side of a hill and under a willow tree (it looked very romantic) I noticed a burrow had been carved out and in the opening I could see a purple bag. Someone was sleeping inside the rose bushes that I was so going to sleep next to.

I spent all day trying to find a job. Walgreen’s went well and the manager said she was going to hire me and then she mentioned I needed to take a drug test. This is when I realized I wouldn’t be a dazzling Walgreen’s employee after all. I spent the rest of the day hunting out places of employment and places of head resting. My spot to sleep tonight? Along a promenade on the marina is an apartment building with thick, tall bushes in front of it. There’s about four feet of space between bush and wall. That’s where I’ll curl up. Luckily, I found a big round roach on the sidewalk and stole some candy from the dollar store. Maybe I’ll be happy when I go to sleep tonight.

— Check back in a day or two for the next story in the Reasons To Run series.

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