In the course of researching safe places to sleep in a car in Sacramento (sic, pending evidence that there are any), I somehow came across a Eurotrashy dipshit calling himself–Galveston, oh, Galveston, I am so afraid of dying–Glenn Campbell, a long-ago laid-off airline baggage handler who humblebrags about bumming his way around greater Europe for wicked cheap because there isn’t much work to be had, mate. Since my ass is, shall we say, still on the line on account of my recurrent warm homelessness, I think I’ll chide him more than hate him, but I’ll chide him for all time. His is a tone that I can’t help but police, for personal reasons that I’ve described at length before, but also in the civic interest of putting in a good word for other warm homeless who ended up this way out of some necessity or other, not because they set out to become international nuisance vagrants.
This preenstone cowboy got turned on to the idea of purposeful circuit-riding vagrancy after a hassle-free night sleeping in his car in Lisbon, which inspired him to offer some speculation about how totally cool the cops would have been with him, in a counterfactual world in which they actually gave a damn about his presence, because he’s a gringo who doesn’t speak Portuguese, giving him great white tourist privilege. I’m sure Daniele Bifalco would agree that the Schengen Zone makes all cops within it bae as fuck. Great logic there, car cracker. Anyway:
After this one experience in Portugal, I realized, “Hey, why do I need a hotel at all?” If you have a rental car, you have a hotel!
Most weeks, unless my finances are extremely tight, I sleep more or less alternating nights in my car and in motels. This dude isn’t just full of shit; he’s impacted.
He gets worse, though. For a laid-off baggage handler fallen on hard times, he’s a champion poor-shamer:
Almost every city has some sort of ordinance against sleeping in cars on public streets, and most property owners wouldn’t want you doing it on their land either—if they knew. The reason, of course, is that if it were allowed, some people would abuse the privilege. They would linger in one neighborhood, be obvious about it and make a nuisance of themselves. No one wants a visibly homeless person living in a car on their street (especially when the observer is slaving to pay for their own home). Our aim, however, is to be completely invisible, which is a whole different game.
That’s a hell of a “privilege” to “abuse.” For a homeless dude, he seems to know awfully little about the homeless, for example, that they already linger in certain neighborhoods, already do so with extreme obviousness, and already make huge nuisances of themselves, often because their circumstances give them no alternative. That’s several good swathes of Sacramento right there, for starters. I was just watching some cold homeless guys beef with a barista for giving them the bum’s rush when they were trying to nap and recharge their phones. This is on a nice part of Broadway, by the way, on the north edge of North Land Park. I didn’t mind them because they weren’t bothering me. In fact, I was more annoyed with the barista, a fruity twit who used me as a contrast because I had just bought something to eat instead of sponging off poor Starbucks for a corner of a group table and 200 watts of free juice, then disingenuously wished them a good night.
Similarly, this dipshit Campbell wants us to consider the precious fee-fees of householders who resent having to live like “slaves” to pay their mortgages. He wants us to see things from the perspective of resentniks who think that sleeping in a Twingo is a form of privilege, in contrast to their sleeping in the same private indoor bed every night. What a craven little ass. This is why we he wants us, and himself, to become invisible.
Let’s say you choose to disobey a local ordinance and sleep in a vehicle where you know it’s not allowed. What’s the worst that can happen? Will you be arrested, ticketed, fined? Probably not. What is likely to occur is that someone will knock on the window, wake you up, and ask you to move on. That’s it!
The “worst” that could happen is that one might be ordered to drive off on unfamiliar streets in a state of genuine exhaustion. I try to sleep at rest areas precisely in order to avoid having my safety and the safety of those around me endangered by some asshole knocking on my window and telling me to move on. “That’s it!” Or, as Myuran Sukumaran said when he was my age, “I guess that’s all, folks.” Actually, I’m older than him now. #WINNING!
As police go, Glenn Campbell is lucky not to have to deal with Brimob. So are we all. Still, he’s pretty sanguine about sworn Florida Man. Yes, he’s been to Florida, too. Wow Much travels None homeland. Maybe the Florida Highway Patrol is better than the Miami-Dade Police Department. Still, I have to wonder about this dude’s judgment. “After all, police usually have better things to do than bust illegal sleepers!” I’d like to believe so, too, but I’m too wary. Campbell says that he’s only been woken up once by a cop, for a completely well-meaning welfare check that was completed without incident. I believe him. He’s too labile to keep his mouth shut about these little adventures. What I don’t get is why he thinks someone who’s sleeping in his car would not be freaked the hell out to be woken up by a cop. That is an alarming experience in the best of circumstances with the best of cops. I freaked when that retard knocked on my window at 0230 at O’Brien/Shasta Lake to try to bum a cigarette off me. I want to be as confident as I reasonably can be that THE POLICE WILL NOT DO THAT. I like Chippies pretty well, for the most part. That doesn’t mean that I’m comfortable with them hanging around my car when I’m trying to sleep. Would you want some cop you chat with around the neighborhood loitering in front of your bedroom door?
Consider the sign shown at the top of this entry, from a Interstate 40 rest area in Iowa. Item #2 says “Overnight Camping” is prohibited. On first glance, that would seem to mean you can’t sleep in a car. But now look at #3: You can’t stay at the rest area for more than 24 hours. That implies that you CAN stay for 23 hours, which entails sleep. And look: You can stay for more than 24 hours if you have a legitimate need to, like “need for rest.” All the sign is really saying is that they don’t want you living in the rest area like you owned the place. What does “camping” mean? Let the lawyers argue over it.
I-40 doesn’t come within Missouri of Iowa. Limey please. He has some good points here, but not, teehee, what even IS camping? Ask a laywer lol! This ass thinks it’s our duty to respect the shit out of the property integrity of an itty-bitty parking lot and sort of public park facility. Chronically squatting at a rest area is shit for gibs, anyhow. Is this fucker trying to demonstrate that he loves him some authority figures and their authority while testing the limits of their authority every night? Around Sac and Fresno, CalTrans has signs up that basically tell the homeless to sleep in disciplined eight-hour shifts because there won’t be enough space otherwise. I sure as hell don’t drive thirty or forty miles to more rural rest areas instead out of a deep respect for CalTrans.
Glenn Campbell’s Bohemian Fapsody inevitably misses the real reasons to sleep at a rest area, like establishing a safe distance from the unstable cold homeless and not trying to use bathrooms to which they’ve laid waste. Even at rest areas, this isn’t always possible: a year or so ago I discovered that someone had wasted all the toilet paper in every men’s and unisex rest area at Lakehead while I was sleeping, leaving it all over the floors and draped into the toilets. I’d managed to share the facility with a total assjob. That’s rare among the warm homeless, though. We aren’t usually mentally ill enough to do that. Rest areas keep the eyes of the broad middle class on the streets instead of a medley of alkies, druggies, bruisers, and nuts.
This is why some of us keep going to the poorhouse in the automobile. The other poorhouses are lower circles of hell. As Mobile Homemaker puts it, “Shelters are for someone else.” He manages to advocate for and counsel the warm homeless without being a total assclown. I try to do the same. Too many Bohemian hipster assholes go around acting like tiny houses are some kind of austere chic, not a pitiful attempt to shack up with one’s lover in a trailer the size of a small hay wagon. I have earnest, compelling financial reasons to sleep in my car, including the Affordable Care Act. So do most people who sleep in their cars, I suspect. We could do to be represented on the internet by other adults sometimes, not just by overly chatty adventure-whoring hipster fuckjobs who act like it’s all a game. It manifestly is not.
At least I’m not parking in Galveston, oh Galveston. The weather here is so much nicer. Usually.