Yes, dear friends. It has happened.
I have been sleeping in my van for the past few days.
Don’t worry. It’s not that bad.
I have one of those horseshoe shaped pillows in maroon velour to put my head on. I also have a tacky blanket from South of the Border, that I believe is located south of the North Carolina border. It might be tacky but it keeps the chill off, for the most part.
I have third row seating, which in reality means the place I choose to lay is about half as long as my body and one fourth as wide. If I fold myself just so, it works. There are two cup holders on each side, which is a good thing because I also have a twelve pack with me.
The back windows open slightly, which is enough to let air in and on a good day allow for a cross breeze, and yet still they are closed enough to keep the bad guys out.
The big problem I’ve come across in my sleeping adventures is finding the perfect place to park. I’m not sure I’ve located that place yet, but I have found most of the places that are not good.
Anywhere near a restaurant is not good. The noise from people going in and out all the time is too much to sleep through. They are quiet going in, but when coming out they are loud, boisterous, burpy and full of gas which they are more than willing to share. Also, the smell of the food will keep a person awake.
Also not good is any place regularly patrolled by the police. They don’t care that you’re just taking a break. They believe you to be a vagrant and vagrants aren’t welcome.
Mall parking lots are also on the list of not good places. There’s a lot of traffic, car emissions, noise, and miscreants in mall parking lots – even when it’s not the holidays.
Cemeteries are certainly not a good place to park and sleep. The only people allowed there for over an hour are the permanent residents. I’m not quite at that point yet.
Convenience stores, schools, banks, and even churches are not good places to park and sleep. They all seem to have their own unique reasons including but not limited to too much traffic and noise, fear of strangers, fear of stranger strangers, and the need to secure things, including parking lots, before leaving.
The parking lot at the gentleman’s club is out. All cars are towed after the last show unless you can prove you went home with one of the dancers.
The bowling alley parking lot is out. They get so enraged they actually throw sixteen pound balls at the non-customer parkers. Have you ever been awakened by the sound of a sixteen pound anything hitting the structure about you?
Wal-Mart is out unless you own a 50 something foot, all in one motor home with too many wheels and full of people who need to restock vies a vie Wal-Mart.
The local fast food establishment is out. They say they don’t have enough parking as it is and would prefer you take you censored, censored, censored, butt and the vehicle it road in on somewhere else, if you don’t mind. Please.
I tried parking in a driveway and somehow managed to set off the burglar alarm which startled me so much that I conducted a frantic search for my keys to get out of there before be arrested. I always remove the keys from the ignition lest I be arrested for DUI, driving uninformed, or is it driving uninsured. I was so upset that I put the van in drive and, well, am no longer allowed in that neighborhood, awake or asleep.
I tried parking on the shoulder of the road and sleeping but I live in the South. Anything on the side of the road should be helped or hauled away by any number of Bubba’s. Imagine going to sleep beside the road and waking up in the middle of a bunch of Bubbas discussing what could and should be done with the van they hauled home. Either that or the Bubbas discover you inside and insist on helping. I get tremors thinking about either situation.
I wouldn’t have to sleep in my vehicle if I could sleep like a normal person. But I can’t. Three to four hours at a time is all I get.
I tried taking Ambien®, but all I got was green food coloring on the floor, a somewhat empty refrigerator and defrosted freezer, and a bunch of new lewd friends from the bizarre texting and long distance calling incident.
So for now, I’m going to keep sleeping in my van. When I can no longer hold my eyes open at my desk, a nap is called for and I have a van that travels.
I will not however be sleeping in the employee parking lot because the other employees might think me weird. I’m just not sure I could live up to those high expectations.
From the life and mind of Wanda M. Argersinger
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