Well, I’ve been back off the streets for two weeks now.
Right after getting off the streets, I joined my amazing team in pulling off our Color Me Cool fundraiser, and then Vicki and I headed off for a week’s vacation to get rested up a bit. Now I’m trying to get back into the flow—but honestly, after those weeks of homelessness, my life is forever changed, and I hope I never get back to “business as usual.”
Through this whole experience, there’s been one question asked more than any other: “What did you miss most from your normal life?” Well, not to burst anyone’s bubble, but even before my two weeks on the streets, my life was anything but normal. But there were a lot of things I missed, and maybe you can relate.
- The first thing almost goes without saying—I missed coming home to my wife, but not only for the obvious reasons … While I’m largely an introvert, and I like some solitude to refuel, I hate to eat alone. For me, that’s a time of companionship and bonding, patching each other up so you can “do it again” the next day, even if very few words are actually spoken. And to not spend that time with the person who’s my best half made for some very lonely nights.
- Showers are another thing that I really missed. Over the course of the two weeks, I took two showers. The rest of the time, it was bird baths with a cold, wet rag and a box of baby wipes. But staying clean was impossible even on the shower days because by the time I got back to camp I was dirty again. There at the end, it was getting hard to avoid the attitude of “why bother?”
- Restrooms were also on the top of the list. Bears do “poop in the woods,” but it doesn’t work so well for us humans, especially trying to keep your balance while leaning against a tree. Enough said.
- A real chair with a back. Sitting on a stump or even a stool works okay, but it’s impossible to rest without something to lean your back against. And I had no place to stretch out, except on the hard ground. At first it wasn’t so bad, but the longer I was out there, the harder it was to find a way to rest. To be truthful, on the last day I broke down and bought a lawn chair.
- A trash can. One of the biggest complaints people have about homeless camps is the garbage. There always seems to be trash everywhere around the camps, but if you really think about it, where are you supposed to put it? Most dumpsters are locked, and there are very few community trash cans. And a dead giveaway that you have a camp in the area is to walk down the street with a bag full of trash in your hands. So that, too, is definitely on the list.
- This might sound silly, but one thing I missed the most was watching the birds eat from our bird feeders in our back yard. You see, Vicki and I have at least 30 different species of birds, along with a half dozen squirrels, that visit our back yard on a daily basis to eat from our bird feeders … and next to a long motorcycle ride, that’s one of the few things that relaxes me.
Until next time … peace out!