Monday, December 16, 2013

Sleeping In Your Car is A Bad Idea

These events occurred in September of 2011, when I was 19 years old. I am a male.

Growing up I was always a bit of an intellectual, and I liked doing tests and experiments on myself. Weird things that other people wouldn't find interesting, you know. I would see how many consecutive hours I could stay up without falling asleep, or see how long I could go without eating before minor hunger pains set in, things like that. It sounds extreme, I know, but it really wasn't. It never got out of control.

For some reason, when I was 19, I became fascinated with the homeless, and what it would be like to be homeless. It was a concept I simply couldn't get my head around; not having someplace to go to when the day was over seemed so foreign.

I decided I wanted to experience it somehow. I wanted the experience to be as authentic as possible, but obviously, still safe. I decided to pack up my car with essentials like water, dry cereal, stuff like that. I drove from where I grew up in central Florida all the way to the middle of Arkansas, in its capital city of Little Rock. It took me like 14 hours or something. I don't know if anyone is familiar with Little Rock, but it's very rural for being the largest city in the entire state. I wanted to be far enough away from home that I couldn't chicken out, to make things more authentic. I brought just enough money for gas and potential emergencies. The plan was to live in my car for two weeks in a large, nearly empty parking lot outside of the Bill Clinton Presidential Library. I made an audio entry into my phone describing the days events for the first few days, but stopped after it got boring. For the first week or so, nothing really happened. I went in the library to use the bathroom, etc, and slept in my car at night. I listened to the radio and played guitar, just trying to fill the days with something. The nights were a little frightening, because I could sometimes see "real" homeless people and suspicious looking characters walking around the parking lot outside my car. I started to feel a sense of dread every day when I saw the sun setting. One night after I'd been there about a week, things got really scary.

I was sleeping in the drivers seat, with the seat reclined all the way in the back. I went to sleep about 11. I woke up at 12 when I heard a car pull up next to me. I ignored it and kept my eyes closed, trying to fall back asleep. I had my windows cracked half an inch for ventilation. I heard the window of the car come down and a voice said "Hey, man." I don't know how he even saw me in there. I straightened up and saw a white male, about 30 years old with a baseball cap on. He looked very thin. When he had my attention, he spoke in a slightly southern accent. "Hey man, what are you doing out here?" I gave him a half asleep look as if to say "what do you think?" He started looking at me funny. "So you're just spending the night here?" I nodded and he looked at me for a few more seconds before saying "alright, man." And driving away. I didn't think to much of it, I even thought maybe he was a concerned citizen and I went back to sleep.

About thirty minutes pass and I hear a car pull up next to me again. Guess what, same guy. He looks at me weird again. I look at him like "just leave me alone." He rolls down his window and says "Hey man, I'm looking for somebody around here. Somebody with a big dick. You know anybody like that?" At that point I'm really pissed because I think he's playing a joke at my expense. I look at him like "What the hell?" He looks really serious but I just continue to glare at him. He says "Alright, man, sorry." He waits about a minute and drives off again.

Obviously, at this point I should have left, but I didn't know any other place to park, and I was really tired, so I just went back to sleep. Big mistake. The parking lot was absolutely deserted at this time. It's a huge parking lot, so there was no one even close to being within earshot of he and I.

A while later I wake up but I can tell it's still dark outside, so I'm still trying to sleep. I hear a tiny little sound like someone is scratching at the outside of my car. I crack my eyes and see the man standing outside my car. But that's not all. There are four other men standing outside my car. I realize the sound I hear is them quietly trying to open my car doors without waking me. To my horror, I notice that one of the men has his penis out and is jerking it around as if trying to get it hard.

At this point, one of them notices and yells, "HE'S AWAKE!" They all start banging on the windows screaming at me as I fumble with the keys, trying to start the car. They're screaming calling me names and telling me about how they're gonna "run a train" on me and rape me. I'm totally freaked out and get the car started right away. Luckily, all my doors were locked. They're all jumping on the car and I reverse so quickly, I can hear body parts crunch under a tire and someone screaming in pain. As I backed up I saw one man's leg was crumpled in half. One of them was still on top of the car, pounding on the windshield and I just kept going, I left the parking lot and started towards the highway before he finally jumped off, screaming obscenities at me as if I was the one who'd done something wrong. I'm shaking and I can feel my eyes bulging out of my face.

Suddenly wide awake, I drove how ever many hours straight until I got to my Aunts house in Atlanta. I never told anyone the whole story until now. It feels good to tell you guys. I've thought about it so many times. I've never felt so terrified by anything, real or fake, in my life. Just knowing there are people out there so evil. It's unsettling.

Thank you for reading about my experience and stay safe! Obviously, living in your car if you have other options is incredibly stupid.

EDIT I found two photos on my phone that I took a few days before this happened. They're both in the day time, before anything really scary happened. I just thought I'd upload them to give a tiny bit of context. One is of a small part of the parking lot, and one is of my car. I think the white stuff on the ground by my car is toothpaste by the way XD

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