Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where would you go?

I was in the lower level of a parking garage a few weeks ago and noticed under the next level up's ramp,a tucked away cubbyhole big enough to fit a large refrigerator box and I said to myself "If I were homeless, that would the perfect place!" Apparently, I am not the only one who does this, identifying potential homeless hotspots, that is.

I started playing this game a long time ago. There was a park where I grew up that had these log houses/forts. They were perfect for playing house. I always thought if I needed a place to stay, that's where I would go. People had picnics at the park so there was plenty of food left over. If the squirrels could do it, so could I. My second choice was to live in one of the playhouses at Toys 'R US. No one would notice, I'm sure. And so it began. I see a nice dry bridge that might work beautifully or places that are open all night and make a mental note.

When I was in college, I used to go the West Campus Library one semester, every night from 11pm -3-ish am. I noticed this little guy would come in every night around midnight. He always wore the same clothes and had a bulging and battered backpack. He looked like he was in his twenties, but didn't really fit the bill of a student. He would find a study carrel, set his bag down, pull a very large book out of the bag and place it on the desk. Then he would just lay his head down on the book and go to sleep. At about 3:30 AM he would get up, load his things, and leave - never cracking a book. This went on for about a month before I realized that he was homeless. This trend continued the entire semester until my schedule changed. One night, I was able to get a look at the book that he put on his desk each night. It was a dictionary. A library! That's the perfect place! And the book - what a great touch! He was warm and had shelter every night. Pretty clever.

I have a running list of top places, but I think I'll just keep them to myself. Who knows when I'll need them and I would hate to find The Perfect Place already taken.

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