Day 84.. A Lot of Firsts

Today is the first day of Fall, the Pope is on his way, and I cooked my first meal in the van last night.

The days are warm and the nights are cool, and sleeping has gotten more enjoyable. I'm starting to think about what I should do when the temperature starts to dip as we get closer to winter, but for the most part I’m not stressing over it. At most I jot down a few ideas on, random pieces of paper, how to winterize the van and then I get distracted by the song “Should I Stay or Should I Go” by the Clash looping in my head.

If you have any ideas on how I should approach the winter, please let me know…

Now about this miraculous meal I prepared myself, last night. I’ve been contemplating whether I should use a propane based cooking source or electric. I weighed my options and I went with a 12 volt George Foreman style grill. I figured if I find a nice secluded spot, I wouldn’t get bothered by anyone. I cooked a steak and I slapped it on some bread, WAH-LAH, and there you have it. Steak sandwich with a side salad I made at the salad bar. There is a picture of the grill setup and meal on my Instagram and on the Social Media portion of my website.

I did realize later in the night that my 12v outlet is no longer working, so I’m going to check the fuse later today. I guess I’ll just put cooking in my van on the back burner (Pardon the pun). I’m just glad the grill worked, and I look forward to sharing my next meal with you down the road.

Life is about balance.. and this next part is what prompted me to post today.

You just read about all this positive stuff that is going on in my life. (I’m still doing this after 84 days, better sleeping conditions, I’m cooking again, I’m listening to the Clash) So last night I had my first encounter with someone actually approaching my van and we exchanged some words. The kicker is they were also a Van Dweller too!

Let me back track a bit.

So, after I cooked my meal in my new kitchen (aka front seat), I went to the gym and had a pretty good workout. To celebrate my cooking/workout accomplishments I decided to park at one of my free WIFI locations, purchase a single serving container of Ben & Jerry’s (you know those pint containers; single serving) and watch Netflix till it was time for bed. Balance people, I just told you life is about balance.

I get the ice cream and I park in the spot. I don’t like to make it obvious that I live in a van and this particular spot is more out in the open. People come and go frequently, so I decide to mess around on my phone till the coast was clear to move from the front to the back of my van. Just my luck someone parks right next to me. I don’t mind it at first. I’m in deep concentration bouncing from my Facebook App to Twitter to Instagram to Tinder and back to Facebook.. This goes on for about 25 minutes. The person is still in their car, lights on, car running; it’s at this point I reach for my ice cream, squeeze the pint container and think to myself “If I wait any longer this will turn into soup.” 

I waited a few more minutes because at that moment I was trying to be the guy “who lives in a van, eating pints of ice cream while watching Netflix” and if I move I’ll have no WIFI and I’ll just be the guy “who lives in a van and eats pints of ice cream” …It makes a huge difference. No one wants to be that guy.

I move.. I’m not happy I have to park somewhere else but I have melting ice cream and I’m already tired so I figured after I eat the ice cream I’m going to pass out anyway. 

Ice cream container is empty.

My belly is full of the delicious contents that I spooned out of the container and shoved into my mouth.

I am sleeping… Everything is perfect and went as planned.

And then this happens….. (to make this part of the story easier to read I’m naming the character Hank. I don’t really know their name)

Hank- *Knock Knock* Hello! Is anyone in there?!

Me- *Pretending I didn’t hear anything, tries to fake sleeping*

Hank- *Knock Knock* HELLO! ARE YOU IN THERE?!!

Me- Hello? *Gets out of bed and heads for the front of the van* (I thought it was the police so I just wanted to make this encounter quick.. Hank has no police enforcement background)

Hank- Hey I just came from the WAWA, my van is over there *Points in direction of a van I can’t see from where I am standing* .. Do you have a slim jim?

Me- What?

Hank- I’m locked out of my van. Can I use your key to unlock my van?

Me- I’m sorry, but….

Hank- You don’t have tools? Does your van have an alarm? Can you try pressing the unlock button? I’ve tried it before with other people and sometimes it unlocks my van..

Me- I’m sorry but it’s late.. I don’t know you.. I can’t help.

Hank- C’mon man. I saw you in the other parking lot. We are living in the same situation here. You can’t help me with a slim jim, some tools, or lending me your key to try and get me into my van? What year is your van? Mine was made in 1998. The older models are all the same.

Me- (This is when I realize he wasn’t asking me for a Slim Jim the meat stick snack.. He wants a slim jim the tool used to unlock cars) Yeah, I’m sorry. I can’t help you. It's a 2007. (I lied to him about my van year to make it seem like they couldn’t be similar)

He walks away..

I start to search for my keys incase he comes back. Typical me, I couldn't find them at first. After 2 minutes (felt like 2 hours) of digging around in the dark, I locate them. I look at my phone and see it's 2am. Start my van and drive away.

Honestly, I have no problem helping others and yes I feel like a dick for not helping this dude. I’m sorry if he was being sincere and he truly needed help, but I didn’t want to take the risk. When I park my van I don’t make a lot of noise. My goal is to not be noticed. My windows are blacked out. This guy spotted me from another parking lot, parked near me, “got locked out of his van”, knocked on my van, woke me up.. ASKING FOR A SLIM JIM!! (Like I said, I thought he was talking about the meat stick) He also asked me if I had an alarm and if he could borrow my keys.


What would you have done? Leave a comment below.


Dang… I feel like a dick for not helping Hank. Day 84.