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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 7: Dying embers

This is my journal I wrote during the time I was homeless. It is broken up by week for easier reading. Feel free to read it on the web or download the complete .pdf version and print it for reading offline.

Week 327

Day 2283 - 10/1 - School's soap

Today was pretty good I suppose. Nothing good which was different happened. I mostly hung out at school in my hall spot. I watched shows, checked for jobs, then watched some more shows. In the evening during the cheap time at the Internet cafe I played for a few hours with my one friend I have that plays my favorite game. I can't even remember clearly when I played my other games. I do recall I was rarely getting a stable connection, which didn't help me feel good about playing.

I think the soap at school may be contributing to my tasting soap. Often I get foods which I eat with my hands (chicken nuggets, fries, pizza, muffins, etc.) and the hand soap they have is white soap. It's possible, due to my allergies, it's getting on my hands and not washing off until I shower. And with that being only every two or three days that isn't very often.

Speaking of which; it is very sad to be going to the locker room at night when noone is there. Sure, I'd prefer to shower under those conditions, but it really just reminds me noone is there. Noone is supposed to be there. They should be home eating dinner, or maybe trying to sleep. So it really just seems to be something which makes me feel out of place.

Now that I'm (completely) unemployed it's getting harder and harder to stay positive about things. Noone is offering help. I'm not finding jobs to even apply to, let alone getting calls back for. And at the rate I'm going it seems I'll be off unemployment, not have other help and be starving and noone will care at all.

Day 2284 - 10/2 - Missed heat

Today I am exhausted. For some reason doing class in the evening just completely wipes me out. I suppose though I was a bit tired overall today. I was kind of nodding off when doing my TA class. (It was lecture, so there wasn't anything for me to do. And, I sit way in the back of class.) Maybe too it is in part due to lack of food. Lately on a few days I've been eating about 25-35% less than normal to try and save money. I don't know that it's really worth the $2-3 saved a day. Everything is stressing me out though, even though I can't control much.

I am very sad I can't play what I want when I want. I'm sad I can't cook or do laundry. And, most of all, I am sad I am not free to do things that would allow me to grow and do new things.

Maybe I can someday. But today is not that day.

Day 2285 - 10/3 - Pretty good for homeless

Today was pretty good for being homeless. I decided to try and do some stuff in my game in the morning from the store to see if I could accomplish stuff free. It worked out pretty well. I played two hours in the morning and was only disconnected once. And that was on transitioning out of a mission, so no progress was interrupted. It seems playing from the food store may be ok more often than not.

After, I kind of had a regular Friday. I went to school to hang out. I posted my podcast, looked for jobs, and watched shows. In the evening I played during the cheap time at the Internet cafe to do group stuff. My friend wasn't on, so that was sad.

Overall, though nothing changed towards not being homeless, it seemed to be a pretty good day.

Day 2286 - 10/4 - Rough night, rough day

Today started with a rough night last night. For some reason a huge weight came over me as I pondered the nearly seven years homeless. That's high school and a two year degree. That's 15% of my entire life so far. As I had a hard time getting to sleep I pondered how it's been so long while I've now seen two other friends go through almost as rough of a time and recovered, yet I have not. Really the biggest difference is they had support, both financially and emotionally. They both had people backing them and helping them out. One had a friend give him a couch to stay on, and another friend helped him get a job. The other (my friend who used to live sort of close) had lots of friends donate money to move, and both he and his wife had new / better jobs offered and waiting there after they moved.

I have seemingly been stuck alone. Thinking back over my life there has never really been a time in my life where I had friends who really cared to help me all the way through my tough times. (Save for one where I was homeless after selling my house who gave me a couch, and another who offered to help maybe six months ago but he was barely able to support himself.) I've never had help with getting a job. I've never had people watch my back and help me forward in a way I wanted to grow. And although I know I have a few friends now who would offer if they didn't live far away, I've never had anyone offer a place to stay who could really afford to make an offer like that.

It seems those who are well connected will always be fine. And those not will be left behind. The question remains; how does someone like that return?

Day 2287 - 10/5 - Disgusting

Today I discovered something disgusting. I was in the bathroom this morning and I looked down and discovered my underwear was... disgusting. I almost got sick. I know it wasn't any worse than some people on a regular basis, but I am always super clean. Normally my underwear never has marks. But the thought of possibly having that against my parts for a day, possibly two since I don't get to change as often as I'd like anymore... made me feel somewhat sick. Thankfully there was a clean pair in the ex-garage I could change to. It's an older one and doesn't fit right, but it was clean.

Once upon a time I could shower in private every day. Sometimes, on hot days like today, I'd even shower twice. For a single guy like me there really wasn't much better than a nice show or some gaming, then when I get tired taking a quick shower before bed and getting into sheets I washed earlier which were still just a bit warm from coming out of the dryer.

But I can't remember when I last could do that. I'd have to check my records to even come close to guessing how long it's been. Now, memories like that are just that; memories, and nothing more. And my reality, who I am now, is somewhat disgusting. I may be fine and normal on the surface, but in reality I'm someone who is in cloths he's worn for three days, sometimes four, and who hasn't had a shower in at least three days. I am now someone who can have disgusting things happen because I have no way to live like a normal person - like how I used to live once upon a time.

Day 2288 - 10/6 - Not enough money

Today I am very sad and very worried. I was hoping my friend who I do online work for would have paid me today. I'd have been able to look forward to that showing up Wednesday. But she didn't. At this point that means the soonest I'll get more money would be Friday morning. Hopefully. If my unemployment isn't late. I've got $12 in my wallet and maybe $20 more I can get from the bank if I just about drain it to zero. But needing a few dollars for gas only leaves about $8 a day total for food, which will be extremely tight and leave nothing to spare. I guess it's a very good thing I didn't wash cloths this week. Though I have a clean shirt my pants, underwear, socks and outer shirt will be between two and four days worn.

I'm so very sad and tired of barely eking by. A few months ago when I was eking by but stable and I was putting about $50-100 into savings a month I guess I was fooling myself. But then, I was at least balanced. I wasn't too sad, nor too happy. At least that was something. I may not have been going anywhere or getting better, but I also wasn't falling any further. I couldn't live for tomorrow because I couldn't guarantee what I would have, but at least I could live for today.

But now... with how truly sad things have become, I am needing to be more and more careful about everything. Even things I do for fun and distraction may need to be canceled. And what was sadness and a living for what is, is more and more often being replaced with fear. And I can no longer live just for today and hope for tommorow, because I fear I may not have a tomorrow.

Day 2289 - 10/7 - Bites and barely enough

Today will hopefully be ok. I have my TA fun in the early afternoon, then my class which is meh. I've got barely enough money for food and a tiny bit of gas; If nothing goes wrong. There is one monthly charge I'll have to check to be sure it won't take anything I need.

I've had these tiny bites, or pokes, on my hand and shoulder where it meets my neck. They are somewhat itchy now, which has calmed down from being crazy itchy last Friday. I'm not sure what they are or where I got them. I've got a bunch of scratches on my legs and shoulders too which are taking an unusually long time to heal. I don't know if they are self inflicted from not getting as many showers and stuff being in my nails, or if they are some kind of irritation from my bedding or other cloths which have been unwashed.

I suppose I have barely enough to get by and not starve until more comes, if nothing goes wrong, but this is no way to live. It is only surviving.

Week 328

Day 2290 - 10/8 - We are all Guardians

Today was a bit unusual. The morning, and even now, was stressful. I have drained my account down to $1-2, with $1 in savings. I have enough money for food for a day or two, but that's it. There is nothing to cover unexpected costs, more gas, etc. I prey my unemployment is there in the morning. But that would be highly unusual. It would be unusual enough for Friday. (I sent it right on time to be there for Friday but it could always be late.)

In the afternoon I made a post about my being seemingly stuck in the game. Some random person (who seemed nice enough) sent me a message they would be willing to group. I am considering it, but I've always been extremely hesitant to add people in permanent friend ways who I don't at least know a little bit.

Also, in the early evening during the cheap time at the Internet Cafe someone came in to play. We chatted for a bit about gear and special missions. It was pretty nice to have someone there who seemed nice. (And he was not scary looking, nor poorly dressed, nor did he have any bad smells like from smoking.) He seemed friendly enough. He's on a different system though, so we never would be able to group.

During the day when I was sitting in the hall a few people said hi. One was from the coffee shop I used to hang out at, and a few others from the class I'm TAing for, or the class I'm taking. (I think.)

It was nice to be recognized and acknowledged. I felt kind of like a normal person, and like someone people could identify with, or at least recognized and felt comforted by. I suppose that's something.

Day 2291 - 10/9 - Too tired to care

Today was pretty good. In the morning I checked to see if my money came early. Some kind of miracle must have happened because it was not only there, but I was able to transfer it into my regular account before anything bad happened. So, while I have barely anything, it seems I'm safe again for the moment.

The day passed fairly quickly. I didn't really do much, and looking for jobs is just a blur in my memory. But it was ok. I had that small bit of money, so that worry was gone. And I had a good time watching shows and doing my TA class.

Class in the evening was ok. But fooooo. I am not liking the fact that it is at night. I am just too tired to care. Maybe I'm just not really interested in what is being taught. Maybe it's because it's not rally relevant to what I will do. But the class stopped early and I effectively could have done homework stuff for about 1.5 hours, but I just was too tired to care.

I wish I had my normal life again. I wish I didn't have to do everything differently than ohters. I wish the things I want to do did not have to be done out of order.

Day 2292 - 10/10 - New routine

Today I've sort of settled into a new weekend routine. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings I'll play for a few hours at the food store. On Friday, after that I'll hang at school for a while. If I can afford it in the evening I'll go to the Internet Cafe to do group stuff. Saturday and Sunday afternoon I'll hopefully be able to go to the coffee shop and avoid the owner's kid. He's been there a lot on the weekends and it seems uncomfortable being there when he's there. During the week I don't go there anymore, I just stay at school. Though I probably should consider going to the food store to play other online games on my laptop. It's been forever since I have since I no longer really feel comfortable at the coffee shop. (And then barely have a connection that's stable anymore.)

I guess today was ok, if I ignore the other homeless around me. There has been one lady at the food store I call laughing girl because she wiggles her foot nervously non-stop and laughs to herself constantly. One day she was there when I left at 11 and when I came back to buy food in the evening at like 4 she was still there. She'd been there like six or more hours. While I stay in spots forever, that seems highly unusual for a small coffee shop corner in a food store with only like a dozen spots to sit. And then there has been this guy in the shower at school. He's been there the last month or so I've gone. He stays on his side, so it's fine really since I can't even see him, but today he was coughing and hacking like he has a disease. It was so gross it made me feel sick.

Maybe someday I can be out of public where I often see crazy or gross people. But until then there is nothing I can do.

Day 2293 - 10/11 - Happy things sad

Today happy things are sad. This morning I went to play at the food store and to my surprise my friend was on. We haven't been able to play together in a week, so I was super happy. But, he had to go. He said he'd only be 20 minutes, but in the nearly three hours I spent there he never returned. Later I got a message he'd be on again later in the evening, but I've kind of committed to only being at the food store a few hours a few days a week so I don't get as noticed as easily.

In the evening I decided to get a fancier dinner and some movies. I've told this story before, but once upon a time when I lived in a home such nights were special. I'd often make an extra fancy dinner or sometimes I'd order pizza. I'd forget my troubles and worries and everything that was coming due, even take a break from games I loved at the time, to have a special dinner and movie time. Just a few hours usually, but something to take me to a new place just for a few hours. Now it doesn't seem so special. Regardless of what I get for dinner it's stuff I have all the time, so there is no way it could be special. And while it's very possible to get movies I haven't seen, the fact that it's on my laptop, where I do everything, makes it feel very unspecial.

My life didn't used to be very special, but small details could sometimes make it seem so. So often now my life is simply survival; just what's necessary, be that physically or emotionally.

Day 2294 - 10/12 - Still disgusting

Today things went a bit differently. I decided to do some Monday things today. I'm still avoiding the owner's kid at the coffee shop and it seemed he was going to be there when I was done playing my game at the food store. So I decided to get my laundry to do it today instead of tomorrow. It worked out ok, though due to all the people's smells and all the stuff they were using for perfumes I felt like I was going to sneeze the whole time. When they were done drying I discovered the disgusting thing was still disgusting.I again felt sick seeing it, and more so at the thought of all my cloths it was rubbing against. I immediately threw it away, and will do so in the future since I can't wash such things independently. I checked when I put everything else away, and no others were gross like that.

Outside of that I guess today was ok, if pretty lonely. My friend wasn't on in the morning, though I didn't expect he would be. In a home I'd have played again in the evening and maybe seen him, but right now I think mornings are a better time for me to be less visible at the store. The evening was pretty lonely too, though basically in a good way. As I said, I expected to go to the coffee shop but didn't. I sat in a private spot outside on campus. I saw maybe one person per hour. But it was quiet, private, and probably most important after the laundry, basically allergy free.

I still have an overly lonely life, but I suppose for the moment that is kind of ok. Due to my being out in public all the time if I did have people interacting with me all the time that would be... too much. And even though it would mean I'd see fewer people in person, I'd still prefer a home and private space that I could be in all the time.

Day 2295 - 10/13 - Chatty

Today was pretty good. I was kind of chatty for parts of it. In the afternoon a friend who is in the video department showed up and we chatted for a bit. (The one who invited me to do film stuff months ago before summer break, but never contacted me.) In the evening there was the Hawaiian Destiny player again. (He was the one I talked to before. He's going back and forth for some consulting work he's doing.)

I guess I've felt more normal today, at least at times. But I can't shake the feelings of not being so because my situation defines who I am above all else.

Day 2296 - 10/14 - Predictable

Today seems like it will be another predictable day. While there were a few cute girls in the parking lot when I came in, which was unusual, none talked to me. The few friends I may talk to will do so in a predictable way. My TA class, while fun, will likely go in a way I expect. My boring evening class will likely be boring. I will likely find no new jobs to apply to, nor hear from any I may have in the past.

While I always hope and wish for positive change, it seems I am not in a position where it has a high chance to happen. My life seems sad, lonely, and most of all predictable.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2014
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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