Last night was a little crazy, and it definitely did not happen the way I thought it would. First of all, I didn’t end up getting to the University Church on 24th and Guadalupe until three in the morning. I was hanging out with Mike and Callen and then playing jokes on Henry until much later in the night than I had thought would be the case. The only reason why arriving at the Church late dismays me is because by the time I arrived everyone was already asleep. I said that I was not going to talk to any of them and I didn’t, but I got a terrible spot because everyone was already there and settled in. There were a lot more homeless people than I had previously thought; I thought there was around ten or fifteen because I had never gone around the Church or peered into the parking lot. There were around forty homeless men and women sleeping around the Church and in its parking lot.
The second reason my homeless evening didn’t go according to plan is because–and this may be news to you–it stinks sleeping on your back in a parking lot with fluorescent light in your face, paranoid about other people and trying to get comfortable. As far as sleeping goes, I had no idea it would be so bad, soooo bad. It was the worst sleep I’ve had in college and I’ve had some weird sleep situations. I imagine the only reason homeless people sleep there is because it is safe, not because they are hidden, but because they are together. The group effect prevents people from doing anything crazy, I guess, and I think the Church might forbid trouble-makers from sleeping there. Regardless, it was a terrible place to sleep but I took comfort in knowing that it was safer than downtown. Still, getting that terrible of a night’s sleep on a daily basis would really hamper your ability to ever be productive during the day. Remember how grumpy and sleepy you are after sleep-overs when you pass out on our friend’s carpet in front of the TV? Imagine passing out, drunk, on an asphalt parking lot, under 40 watt lights, in the cold, every night of your life. Try fixing your life when that is the sleep you get every night.
And on top of that, I forgot to mention the worst part. It wasn’t the Guadalupe Street traffic that picks up at 6:30, it wasn’t the drunk frat guys yelling at each other at 3:40, it wasn’t the snoring homeless guys, the disruptive wind, the hard asphalt crumbs, or the wash of white light. The worst part about my whole experience last night was the birds. If you have walked on Guadalupe, you have seen their handiwork. Tiny, white signatures littered all over the pavement. I don’t mean to say that bird-poop was the issue, I’m just trying to get you to understand the number of birds there were. They start cawing and cackling at 6:40 in the morning and you do not go back to bed. The birds get loud, the traffic picks up, and that’s when 30% of the homeless people leave. They go to sleep somewhere else or start their day, I don’t know. I just know they were smarter than me, who promised to himself he’d stay till 7:30. Those freaking birds did not stop, and I banked about three hours of terrible sleep last night.
I stood up at 7:30 (I hadn’t been asleep for forty-five minutes), grabbed my pillow, grabbed my backpack, zipped up my sweatshirt and walked back to my dorm. That night stunk; heck, it wasn’t even a night–that three and a half hours was terrible. I was cold and sore, uncomforable and irritable, pessimistic and spent. But I only had to do it once, and I’m blessed for that.
And, I crossed it off my Bucket List.