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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 8: Endless Void

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 389

Day 2717 - 12/9 - Feeling sad

Today I am feeling pretty sad. With the holidays coming up I am hearing about what people are excited for, even if it is just to take a break. I get no break. In fact, holidays are the exact opposite of a break for me with no money. I will be out in more cold, with less options on what I have access to and where I can be. I have fewer options for food, and few to no options for showers. For me, in these homeless times, the times which used to be for celebrating and relaxing have been things I dread, and sources of more stress than normal.

I suppose today was ok though. With so few school things to worry about I got to spend most of my day trying to relax. Job searching takes little time normally, and near the end of the year like this almost none at all due to how little is posted. So, much of my day is free. And with fewer students around things are calmer and quieter.

But again that odd silence, those times I am pretty much the only one, or one of only a few around, does little more than make me feel out of place and remind me just how not normal my life has become. And day by day it becomes harder to remember, and now harder to even imagine, what my life used to be like in a home.

Day 2718 - 12/10 - Not a pizza party

Today started out good, but then became very bad and scary, and ended very sad.

In the morning I checked for jobs and got to play a bit. A few hours later though I rapidly started to feel bad. I felt as if I was very hungry and at the same time like I'd been punched very hard in the stomach (at the bottom of my rib cage.) I decided to try and eat, so I went to heat up my food. By the time it was ready just five minutes later I felt worse. I went into the bathroom and rapidly started to feel more and more worse. I started sweating, breathing so fast I was panting, and got pretty dizzy and almost threw up. I was sweating so much I took off my shirt layers and laid down there on the bathroom floor. (I was in the bigger stall for handicapped, so it was like three times the normal space.) After what felt like 10 minutes I had calmed down again, the dizziness was subsiding, and I could get up and go back out to the hall to lay down on a small couch like chair they have. Instead of eating I just stayed there and rested for the next hour. Though my symptoms faded over the next three hours, even now at about 10 hours after the first symptoms, I still kind of feel a bit like I was punched in the tummy. I ate lunch at almost 3, well after the normal 11, and very slowly ate what I had for dinner over the space of an hour (something that would normally take 10 minutes.)

In the evening it was the last class for the fun class I TA for. One of the friendly people said she was thinking of getting pizza delivered during the test, but didn't. After class the three who have been most frienly were together and still talking about it and said they were going. They sort of half invited me, but since all were not paying attention to inviting me and made it very clear they wanted me to go, I just left it at that and stayed.

I actually really kind of wanted to go. But even then as it happened it wasn't going to eat pizza that I was really missing and sad about by not saying 'wait for me', it was that I miss having real life friends. I miss events like that which aren't just a onetime thing, but a repeated thing. I miss having fun people like that in my life and getting to know each other and having fun times.

Part of me says it was the right thing not to go. Going and having no money at all I feel very uncomfortable. I feel like I have nothing to offer. I feel like an extra, and secretly unwanted, wheel. Plus, there is my being the TA. In terms of friendship level since I'm not in the class, I'm an outsider as the TA.

I guess though, as always, if I am meant to be long term friends with them there will be more. And in many ways if I'm not, then not having a single night of fun is probably for the best, as that would just remind me of what I miss in life. But still, I can't help but be sad. Both because of what was missed, and about everything I miss bcause of my sad life and how I feel about me.

Day 2719 - 12/11 - Sad leaving

Today started with some potentially good news. On my way out of the showers I noticed a sign to a sport room that showed hours during the holiday break. At least Monday and Tuesday each week it showed someone would be there for at least a few hours. So that is potentially very good news in that I may have access to school showers at least once a week. While far from ideal, once a week is really enough to prevent smooth bits from getting extremely scruffy and enough to wash off most of the slinkiness. I guess I'll know more Monday.

I saw one of the people from last night again. I made a few implied statements of being longer friends with things like 'will I see you around again?' He seemed to shy away from it. Which is really sad because he seems like he's in a similar spot. He's moved from where he's been living and it seems like he is very sad because he misses his friends he had. But he didn't seem like he felt able to reach out. It kind of seemed like he was a similar lost soul and afraid to make that connection, both because he maybe felt he didn't have anything to offer, but also maybe too because reaching out in a way admits what he lost may be something he can't return to.

Mostly today just felt like a very sad goodbye. I think I figured out why these times feel so devastatingly sad to me. Because I have no home, nowhere I belong, nowhere I have freedom to be, my spot at school is my safe place. In a way it is a place I feel I belong. It is a place I feel safe. In essence it kind of is my home for the moment. Each time I must go and can't come back, or there are times my coming back is uncertain, all feel that same sense of loss and pain as when I was kicked out of my home. In essence I am repeatedly feeling that each time. And even in times like this when I know I can come back, and I feel fairly confident that being outside will be ok, I still lose my known spot. I still lose that warmth and peace and quiet there is. I still lose the shower, the bathroom, and connectivity. I still lose what little in me is left that feels like there is a home.

Day 2720 - 12/12 - Feeling more sad

Today both bodes well for the future and felt very cold and sad. In the morning there were cars in various places on campus. It seemed they were some events near the pool, and I'm not sure why there were other cars, but all day there were extra people around doing regular weekend things. And in the evening when I was on my way out, at the building next to where I park there were valet people setting up for an event. I actually wouldn't be surprised if there were events quite regularly up until Xmas time.

But still, today was extremely sad. It was very cold, though I managed ok. I still very much would have loved to be in a home. Nothing super fancy, even just a shared place with people who are friendly where I had a small room with my bed, system to play on, my stuff, and enough heat to be warm with a fairly minimal number of layers on. To be able to eat different food instead of a single food for several meals, to be able to cook, to shower, to put my contacts in a cleaned case each night. Just simple wishes, but ones it seems are nothing more than that.

Day 2721 - 12/13 - Library

Today felt pretty terrible. In the morning I was hopeful and very grateful that it looked like school had been opened and set up for the church group. But my heart quickly sank as I got close enough to see that there was not actually anyone in the cafeteria area. I suppose I could have gone in. There was no sign of security all day, and the only maintenance people I saw didn't show until nearly 2. But it would have felt weird, and impolite, to be in there alone. I did go in to use the bathroom, but I regret not using the micro to have a warm lunch. That likely was my last real chance for a warm meal for weeks.

As the day went on and the rain poured down and it grew more and more cold I felt more and more sad about my life and how terrible things have gone lately. I felt even more sad that it seems for a long time now there has been less and less emotionally going well.

I thought a lot about how people wished me a happy holiday break. And I thought too how everyone wishes a happy holiday with no real second thought to it. Saying that reminds people of the happy times past and yet to come. But for me it seems each year there has been less and less to be happy about and celebrate. There is less for me each year.

Seeing more and more decorations go up makes me wish more and more I were in a home, that I was able to put up my decorations, that I still had friends who would come over to exchange gifts with. But I don't, and as such even if I could there would be little I would do, as it would just be me.

Each year I have lost more and more. These past few years have been especially hard. And now, with 1/4 tank of gas, less than $0.50 in my bank account, several things coming due, and recent letters saying I will be getting nothing for a food stamp award starting in February, I wonder how I will make it through this next year. I have so little left, and with as few who are watching out for me and able to help lately as there have been, I don't know how I'll continue to make it.

Day 2722 - 12/14 - The gifts

Today turned out to have gifts a few times. I arrived at school and got a shower in the morning. After, I went around to my spot. I settled in, checked for jobs, and played for a bit. During lunch there was an email saying that someone had sent me an early Xmas gift. I was so surprised and happy that someone cared that I nearly shed a few tears, particularly since this is the same someone who has been so very generous the past few months, including sending the new car battery.

For the first few hours I was here I noticed an unusually high number of students and what looked like student/parent people walking around. I decided to get up and look in to the cafeteria area just when the chef happened to be coming by. We chatted a bit as I wondered if they were open like they were during summer. He basically said he didn't know, but he was very concerned about me out in the cold. He went in to do his thing, but came out a few minutes later and gave me a soup. I thanked him and thought that was a nice surprise.

Not too long after I had to go to the bathroom, so I thought I'd check the other side of the cafeteria and see if it was open. Much to my surprise it was, and will be all of this week. Much like summer that little area is open, meaning I can be inside and have access to a micro most of the day through the week.

In the evening I checked the ex-house. Much to my surprise again the gift I was told about was waiting for me. It was a huge box as big as my chest. Due to its size and weight I guessed it was the backpack from my list. Which is actually really super great. The old one had worn through in several spots, and the laptop was at risk of exposure to the rain and other elements. Plus, the straps were tearing, so I felt like every time I was picking it up it was at risk of ripping in half. So the new backpack is super great. I feel secure again using it, and it is even more padded than the previous one.

What I did not expect was the way it was wrapped. It was in this big blue bag type gift bag which was still about as big as my chest. It made me super smiley and laugh. I still smile thinking about how ridiculously fun it was. I kept the bag and put it away in a safe place. Hopefully I can use it for something fun again someday when my life is not sad.

So today ends on a pretty good note. I have a new very safe backpack for all my things. I can rest with the knowledge I can now be inside at school, and when it closes in the early evening, I can go over to the library. And at least two people out there worry and care that I'm ok. Which, combined with a shower and being inside, help me a lot towards feeling normal. My troubles and worries are still there, but with these things I feel renewed hope and they don't seem as much of an impending doom as they did yesterday.

Day 2723 - 12/15 - One day at a time

Today has just started. I have a new backpack and things feel very secure. I'm not super warm, but I'm inside and I will be all day.

There are many bad things still. It still seems I won't be getting food money next year. My phone may be out of money to look into that. I don't have any money to add more if it is. I'm down to 1/4 tank of gas. I still haven't paid for car insurance or next quarter's parking permit. So things still look very bad for me. But I have to try and hang on. And I have to try and live my life one day at a time to get by and keep going. If there is little to look forward to, maybe by just looking at today I'll be ok.

Week 390

Day 2724 - 12/16 - Fun Xmas game

Last night I got a second present from the very generous person. It's a super fun game off my wish list. I was trying to think last night when I last had a game to play on Xmas that was new and I really couldn't think of a time. It would have to have been probably 10 or more years ago at least I think.

Today when I got to school I did a job search, but then I got to spend the rest of the day in my game I would normally play, and my super fun new game. The new one is single player, so I can play offline not connected to anything. It's very different to have an offline game again after playing online so long with my main game. It is peaceful and relaxing. And it kind of makes me feel I'm in my own world, my own space that is just me and my game.

Back in the day I used to do single player games like this all the time in my private times, usually in the few quiet hours to cool down before bed. I guess that is part of why it feels so singularly mine. It is kind of like a piece of home that I've been missing lately. It's been quite a while since I've had a single player game like this.

I was at school most of the day but sadly not all like I'd planned. For some reason they closed at 6 instead of the 8:30 or later that the health center in that area closes at. I guess they changed their mind because they had nothing to do. It was kind of funny that during lunch the doc walked up to me and asked me to come in for a checkup totally out of the blue. I guess that's good though to check all the things. And she worries about me. They all do there. (Though there are only really three or four people there.) So that's nice to know I am worried about.

I still have all the terribly sad and worrisome things to worry about, but for today at least I just looked at today and did the best I could to try to stay hopeful about things and pass the time trying not to be sad.

Xmas presents 2015.

Day 2725 - 12/17 - The hunger

Today had quite a bad start. I'd just gotten to school and settled in when some guy I've never seen before told me the area was closed for the painters. That meant my whole day's plans for being at school were shot, and my plans for being there tomorrow were also probably shot. I quickly cooked lunch before going, as it was a micro food, then decided to kill some time with a shower. After my shower I ate a very early lunch at like 10:30 and it was nearing the cold side of room temperature. If I didn't know it was cooked I'd have maybe thought it wasn't.

I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow. I originally planned to be at school half the day, which I may still do, but being outside is sad now. I wasn't plannnig to change to an 'always at the library' schedule until next week.

I guess the rest of the day went ok tough. I went to the library and stayed in a fairly warm spot. I had to move my car mid-day, but any weekday I'll need to do that due to the parking time limits. (Though I still think it's not enforced.)

The weird thing is that since maybe Monday I've been almost constantly hungry. I had regular meals through Wednesday, so I don't know what's going on exactly. Looking online people say it might be diet related, which would make sense.

Since the scare of losing my food money started I've heavily cut back on the 'better' micro food in favor of cheaper soups, which would greatly reduce my already extremely small vegetable intake. And, with fruit as expensive as it is I haven't had any fruit in I don't know how long. I guess I may look and see if any is on sale, or consider a big juice since the weather is so cold and it could survive a few days in the car. But with things so incredibly dangerous in terms of 'extra' food costs, things will likely just continue to get worse even if I do get past this current hurdle.

With no donations today, and no (good) news about my food stamps, things feel very bleak in times like this when I can't play my games and do things to distract me from the sad things. With all the cold times and school closed, it will be harder and harder to remain distracted from the sad things. All I can do is continue to hope and try and hang on until change or opportunity comes my way.

Day 2726 - 12/18 - Day at the library

Today was ok, but could have been better. I checked at school and as I guessed there were still painting things everywhere. There was plastic covering all the floors and things. I didn't bother to go in. It would only have been access until 11:45 anyways.

I stayed outside as long as I could, which was until the library would open. I rushed over right away. The day there was ok. Until about noon there was a big ray of sun in the spot I picked that was heating up the back of my monitor. I should have picked a different spot sooner. The next closest spot not in the sun was taken by the time I decided to move. But by 2 the sun as gone and glare was leaving and I started to have a better time.

My tummy is still feeling very funny. I got some juice which will hopefully lessen the odd near constant hunger feeling. But it hasn't had much effect so far. If I had money I could do buy a number of different medium fast food options that were vastly more healthy. Even just about $5 would get me a bit of herb chicken and a tiny bit of salad at the healthy food store. But I have none. My car is down to 1/8th of a tank of gas. I don't have $5 for laundry. And there are other unpaid things that need attention. When I am not distracted, things continue to look very bad indeed for my immediate future.

Day 2727 - 12/19 - All my day

Today was the first day I planned to be at the library all day. I passed by school to see if it was open to shower, but things were closed. It's ok. It has hours on Monday and Tuesday for the next weeks, and once a week for showering and shaving is fine because I don't really generate much smell and my hair grows pretty slow. I am getting very worried about my cloths though, as it seems like it's been more than two weeks since I've last done a wash. Only the one pair of pants and a few shirts were done the last time too.

I suppose it was a pretty good day. I was mostly warm all the time and got to play for much of the day. And I guess that is all I can hope for these days.

I am getting extremely worried though as I'm nearing 1/8th of a tank of gas and less, meaning there are likely only a few days of gas left. If no help comes by Tuesday it wouldn't be very likely to make it to me before the Xmas break. So I worry very much about getting around to the warmer places and staying dry on rainy days like this. But all I can do is continue to hang on to hope, and that help does come.

Day 2728 - 12/20 - Nearly empty

Today was pretty fun when I was at the library. I played my games and was able to be in a different world and forget about my worries in this one for a bit.

But now that it's closed, now that it's night, I am growing very very worried. My gas is now less than 1/16th of a tank. I've got gas for tomorrow probably. If it were pushed, maybe one more day, but I doubt more. And I fear that even driving Tuesday would be risky.

Without donations tomorrow it is unlikely I would get them transferred to my bank before I ran out of gas. With all the rain and the extreme cold lately I fear what that means for me. Getting to the library on foot would likely be a one and a half to two hour walk, each way. (Compared to a 5-6 minute drive from where my car stays at night.) Which just isn't feasible for my poor feet. Plus, in the recent rain and cold that's a terrible idea for me as well as th stuff I would be carrying.

So I am getting very worried. I fear Xmas my come and I may be alone and crying in the worst position in my life yet, having no gas to get around, leaving me few ways to stay warm and do my daily things. And at night it would be very difficult to avoid suspicion as being out and about is extremely out of place during the holidays.

I continue to hope and pray help will come, but with all of this season's distractions it seems fewer eyes than ever are looking out for me.

Day 2729 - 12/21 - Red line and crying

Today started well, but ended with very bad news and a lot of crying.

I went and got food for today and tomorrow at the start of the day. I checked school and it was open, so I took my shower and shaved off nearly a week of hairiness and got clean smelling. After, I went to the library, found what seemed an all day parking spot half a block away, and went to spend my day in the library.

In the evening when I left the fuel gauge was at less than 1/16th. The check gauges light came on immediately when I started up to leave the library. I don't know what that means in terms of how much gas is left. All I can do is hope it is enough. It lasted the few miles to get close to the ex-house. So, if we assume I had maybe 1 gallon that should hopefully leave enough to get the 1 mile back to the closest gas station. But so far there is only one small donation. And as such I can't risk moving the car until it is absolutely necessary.

I went in to the ex-garage and hugged my stuffed bunnies and cried for quite a bit. It seems very few are watching out for me and sending help. And it seems that no more may be on the way. It feels more and more like the end of this year will be my end. And that I will lose what is left one piece at a time.

Tomorrow I will try to hang on. I will try and hold on to hope that help will come. But I have probably a 1.5 hour walk, each way, and more the next day as I'll not have enough food to last two days. Maybe I will try to stretch it, but it seems unlikely two small sandwiches and some gram crackers and chips would last two days.

But for a while tonight I will probably cry some more, as it seems my future is very bleak and there will be very little holiday cheer for me.

Day 2730 - 12/22 - Walking and wet

Today started as it had to. Grabbing what food I needed from the car, I left it where it was and walked to the library. It was sprinkling, as it often does in California, so I was not only hot and a bit sweaty, but my backpack had apparently gotten more wet than I would have liked. The umbrella only covered about half of it I guess. No water penetrated, so it was fine, but I worry about all the things.

I worry. Even though it is early and I haven't checked online yet, I worry about all the things. The one donation I got yesterday is enough for emergency gas. Just enough for a few days, so I have to leave the car where it is as long as I can and prey more help comes. I guess what I can do next quarter, provided I get enough help to do it, is get a bus pass and then split the time between driving and taking the bus. That way I can still drive to get food and take a shower at school, but save gas by not driving every day. It will not be very good, as I really shouldn't be walking at all, but in order to try and extend my donations I may have little other choice.

If I don't get more help... things will rapidly come to an end. The car would be lost or need to be sold, stuff I have would be lost or break down extremely quick now that they, and I, would be much more exposed to the elements as well as much higher wear and tear. And how would I get to a job? Yes, busses, but with my last job, just a 10 minute drive by car, was a 1.5-2 hour bus trip depending on the time and day.

As it has been for the past while, things do not look very good for me. I try to escape into my games when I can to try and stay happy. I try to hang on to hope that help and opportunity will come. But it seems in recent years I have grown very unlucky, and things seem to be growing more and more sad and more and more terrible.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2015
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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