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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 9: Fractures

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 461

Day 3221 - 4/26 - Helper

Today I was a helper again. It's cool to see the professors know and trust me as both an authority as a helper for my professor, but in general on many topics of their program we use, or things around the department in general.

I played a bit in the morning. In the late morning and afternoon the bandwidth was basically garbage, so I could barely do anything. Even the landline based systems had slowed to a crawl. I really hope they fix that because the wireless is about 10% of what it used to be most of the day, and landlines being much faster are maybe only 2% of what they should be.

But today was a pretty good day. I played, watched shows, got a shower in the morning, and most of all helped and was distracted. While I feel better, I suppose the reality of it, for me, didn't change. Good or bad it seems very unlikely the events of today will alter my course. But still I try to hang on to the good things. I try to stay positive and hope that maybe change will come, though it is not visible to me now. And I hope better days continue in the future.

Day 3222 - 4/27 - Sad gaming

Today was pretty sad. Again the bandwidth dropped to almost zero. It's getting more and more difficult to watch a lunchtime show, as more and more often during the day the bandwidth is coming to a crawl and stays that way until about 4. If it clears.

At many points today when I was trying to play online and things were unstable I thought about my sad life. I thought how nice it would be to gaming and be in house cloths and be nice and warm in a home. How nice it would be to not have to have my ears pinched by headphones. And how nice it would be to play my games on a solid and stable connection.

It occurred to me today that I have several games I've never played at their fullest because I have never truly had enough bandwidth to have an uninterrupted time with them. And that made me sad, as it reminded me just how many of my games I play now which I've only ever played while homeless. Thinking about it more now I don't think there is a single game I have that I played previously in a home anymore.

And of course such sad thoughts made me think about all my other things I don't have now. The most pressing of which right now are clean cloths, clean 'bed' things, and a clean me (even though I can shower), as I am almost constantly itchy to some degree and am now covered with bites and scratches almost everywhere.

But I try to hold on. I try to think of what I can still do, even though it may be limited. And I try to continue to hang on until better days come.

Day 3223 - 4/28 - Sad day, quick day

Today passed pretty quickly. Every time I checked what time it was it was later than I thought. But it was pretty sad. The bandwidth was still incredibly bad, so I could barely do anything. Which is odd, since I'd think with as little as I could do it would feel like an eternity.

The person who watches over me checked in again and gave me some monies, so with that I can get a bit of gas and actually do laundry. I was planning to do the air dry thing and see if that worked, but with the money I now have enough leeway to actually do a wash. And, according to the weather reports, it should get near 80F as we get through the weekend and into next week. So maybe after the wash I can start to wear less cloths and switch to shorts. That will help keep laundry costs down a lot.

So again today seemed sad, as my very difficult life did not change. And again I had an extremely tough time as I couldn't freely play, and shows were barely watchable. But I got through the day and survived the emotional pain yet again. So I try to keep hoping. I try to hang on. And I hope soon my forever better days will come.

Day 3224 - 4/29 - Not Tabletop Day

Today was ok, but there was an underlying sad. It was International Tabletop Day, and again I missed out on participating. There were some close places I knew of, one I would have actually liked to go to, but I just don't have the spare gas and snack money.

I did join a new social group online, and it's very big with about 16,000 people, so there is a lot of talking going on. So maybe that will help me be at least a little connected and feel a bit less lonely. I imagine there might even be enough local people in there to find a good pen and paper group, but again with so many pressing issues even if there were I wouldn't be able to afford the extra in gas to get there. In fact, if things continue as they have been lately I'll be grounded for good in a few weeks.

I did actually get to do a bit of laundry, though not everything I'd hoped. (And basically never everything I need in entirety.) I did have to laugh at some people who were putting a quarter in the dryer, pressing the coin return thinking it was start, and being confused at nothing happening. They did this about four times before I walked over and pressed the very differently colored, clearly marked 'start' button.

But today I tried to stay positive. The library connection was strong enough that I had enough bandwidth to play a game I've gotten back into recently. In the morning I had no problems at all, but in the afternoon it started slowing down. But it was nice to play for at least a little while without worry.

So I guess even though I had all the sad things before, and missed yet another yearly event I'd have liked to go to, today wasn't too bad. And, it's finally warming up enough to consider wearing shorts.

So I try to stay positive. And I try to hang on.

Day 3225 - 4/30 - Acceptance

Today was actually pretty fun. I spent the morning at the food store, which I expected to have a terrible, or no, connection. But it was actually really good for that location, so I got to do some social stuff and even watch a short video.

The new social group is super nice and friendly. I posted a few hopefully helpful comments / suggestions and people 'liked' them and responded well. So that was really nice to see.

I finally had an every other week(ish) game. I guess it's been 1.5 months since the last, so it's been a while. But we had fun and people laughed and had a super good time. I hope I can continue in the future. Gas is becoming a huge concern, but it's only about $3-4 every other week, so overall it's not too much extra drain. But with so little left I worry all the time about having money to do anything.

But today was super warm. I don't know if it was the 80F the weather predicted, but I was plenty warm for a change. And I Had a good time with the new social group, as well as at my game. So today was mostly good.

Things are still terrible overall and the worst struggle in my life, so I try to hang on and focus on what's positive. And I try to keep hoping I make it to my forever better days.

Day 3226 - 5/1 - Fun day

Today was pretty fun. One professor opened the lab early because someone in the class I TA for said he would be there early. So I settled in to the lab pretty early in the day. The bandwidth was garbage though. By10 I couldnt even load my social page, so any gaming was out of the question. But it was ok though, as people were showing up and needing my help by the early afternoon. So I kept pretty busy helping.

In the afternoon my professor was back from her trip, so it was class as usual for the class I TA for. People had a good time and we had some laughs.

The evening passed super quick. It was over before I knew it. I settled back into the lab after, but outside of a bit of time during dinner people needed help, so I mostly wound up helping then too.

So today was a pretty fun day. I tried to keep sad thoughts at bay. And I suppose I did, but I still worried about many things. Lately too I feel and look fatter around my waist and chest, so I don't know if I'm retaining extra weight, or am fatter due to some minor diet change lately, or if it's my age, or what. But now I'm extra worried about that, as my declining health isn't something I can change in terms of food options.

But I was pretty busy today, and I continue to try to hang on and hope for better days.

Day 3227 - 5/2 - Guiding spirit

Today I feel pretty good. I saw someone I haven't seen in a few years. He's here to do a talk for one of the professors; One of those success story kind of things. It was bittersweet as he asked me what I was still doing here, which really just reminded me how I'm stuck and not a success story.

In a way I guess I've become a guiding spirit, lingering, stuck between one world and the next. Much like a ghostly spirit I help people understand, and by understanding they have an easier transition.

At least I hope that is what is happening. Because if I'm just failing and nothing is coming of it for me, or for others, then my life is just ticking away for nothing. I hope those who know me will at least have someone to remember if I am not someone who helped create change for the better.

But I try to stay hopeful. I try to hang on. And I hope someday I will have forever better days and again look up from the ground without fear, and feel the warmth of life in my bones again.

Week 462

Day 3228 - 5/3 - Lack of sleep

Today I am totally exhausted. For weeks I've lost some sleep due to worry, and for the past couple of nights I've only gotten 4-6 hours of sleep each night. In writing posts I've written the wrong word, the wrong tense, or just made little sense.

The day seemed very slow. Bandwidth was terrible, so that was likely a big part of it. I played a couple of games in the morning, but for the rest of the day I couldn't do hardly anything. I tried to watch shows, but had to wait until after class because there wasn't enough bandwidth, and even after I could barely get enough for a show.

But the class I TA for was pretty fun. And before and after I helped with stuff quite a bit, so that was good.

I still worry about all the things. I still hope there are those out there watching out for me. Money is almost gone again, and help these days is extremely rare.

But I try to continue. I try to hang on. And I hope someday my better days will come.

Day 3229 - 5/4 - Not Monday

Yesterday I was so exhausted, when talking to the other TA person in class he asked what they did Monday and I replied 'today is Monday'. And he laughed and said it was Wednesday. And I was like what the crap. I only got about 7 hours of sleep, which is more than the 4-5 of before, but I still feel I needed several days of sleeping in to catch up.

I suppose today is ok though, but I barely got to play anything or watch anything. Again the bandwidth was garbage; both wireless and landline. So mostly I did a lot of nothing, as my brain was really too tired to focus.

But I try to hang on. I continue to hope that help will come soon and I can continue to hang on until better days.

Day 3230 - 5/5 - Feeling sad

Today I am feeling very sad and tired. I got a low balance warning from my bank, which wasn't unexpected, but just reminded me how low I am. There is maybe a week of gas left, two if I'm lucky. Things are getting very bad and I've not gotten help since the insurance overdraw. (Which feels like a month ago now.) After that I may be forced into walking. Which is bad enough on its own, but what about in two months when the car registration is due?

While bandwidth was terrible today, I did get a chance to play a few games and watch a few shows. But with things as bad as they are I couldn't not think about how terrible things feel right now, and how much more terrible they may become in just the next few weeks.

But I try to not break down and lose it. I try to keep the tears back and seem like I am ok. And I try to hold on to hope that better days will come.

Day 3231 - 5/6 - Feeling loss

Today I still feel very sad. But more so I am feeling a lot of loss. Joining the new social groups has been mostly positive, as I can help some, and I see others finding new friends to play with. But that also reminds me that my own game, which I have again tomorrow, may be the last one I can afford to go to. I've put the last of my money into gas, and if I'm lucky it will last about two weeks. Which really means I only have a week before I need to consider walking and conserving what is left.

It will be sad if I were unable to play again after. Sure, I haven't for about 20 years prior to this group so I'm used to what that's like, but that doesn't make it less sad. I would still miss that kind of gaming if I had to stop again.

And while bandwidth was good and I got to play and watch a couple of shows, I felt hollow, empty, as if I have already lost the ability to do these things. It's as if all the hope and beginnings I see in the new social group reflect the opposite in myself. I look for those future paths and I have none, because everything is slowly crashing around me. And it feels like I am finally truly isolated and alone in my struggle.

I am worried about me. I need my car. My bones and health are no good for more walking than very short distances. And what with my being homeless my car needs to keep moving. And I need to be able to carry only a small amount of stuff, or I become more exposed and a whole lot more vulnerable.

So I continue to hope there are those out there who worry about me and see that I need crisis level help again. I continue to hope that help comes. And I continue to hang on until I hopefully make it to my forever better days.

Day 3232 - 5/7 - Upset tummy

Today was a mix. In the morning things were ok. The food store still had a decent connection, so I did my regular morning things. There wasn't much time before I headed out to my every other week game.

The game in the afternoon was super fun. All the people had a good time. At the end they asked if three weeks was a good time for the next game. People weren't really paying attention to me, so I didn't say anything. Thinking I may have to not only say no, but say I might need to permanently say no, felt too sad. I continue to hope things change, or that enough help comes (since each visit is only $4 extra in gas). It seems too sad if I have to drop it.

Little things bugged me throughout the day. The fact I couldn't shower. In addition to not showering, even if I had money for gas to go to school to shower, it would not have been a private in a home shower. I am still itching, I would guess from 'bed things' not being washed in forever. Worry about the car registration. Worry about gas. And because I can't make very good food choices, my tummy was upset with what I got for lunch and dinner.

It's early evening now. I've come back to the food store and I'd hoped to connect and do some more things. But, as usual, it seems there is no connection again.

So I again end my evening feeling sad, feeling isolated, and feeling like what little I have left could soon be lost. But I continue to try to hang on. I continue to survive. And I try to stay hopeful for better days.

Day 3233 - 5/8 - Flip it

Today started very slow. There wasn't much bandwidth, so doing anything was difficult. And there were only a few from classes I TA for that came into the lab. Noone asked for help, so my day up until the class I TA was passing very slowly. Which left me alone with my sad feelings and thoughts.

The class was pretty fun, though I and the other TA didn't have much to do, as it was just a lecture day. Only a couple stuck around to do stuff after, and only one of those needed help for a bit. So mostly I just had my dinner and watched a show.

I was pretty itchy again today. Some of my spots got pretty bad as I scratched. But, as is the nature of the itchiness, after several hours of not scratching it subsided and looked normal again. I did have a thought though, and I hope it works out. I thouht to flip the 'bed sheets'. I always fold my bed things the same way, so the thought behind that is if it's getting something on me as I sleep, and if that something hasn't penetrated the front layer, I should be less itchy. Or hopefully not at all.

I don't clearly remember when I last washed the 'sheets'. I think it must have been around August when I first got my money boost. Back when I hat at least some income (years ago) I'd wash that stuff about every other month or so. But now, those extra items are too much (cost) to wash. And at this point I don't have money for even a regular wash, let alone extra items.

So those thoughts make me sad. Thoughts of not having $5 for a wash, or $10 extra to wash my 'bed things', let alone $7-10 for gas a week. And the thoughts of how totally outside of normal that is. Never mind not knowing how I'll ever make it to the nearly $200 I need for car stuff in just over two months.

But all of that is outside of my control. I seem unable to help myself change the things that would generate opportunity. I just have to keep hanging on. I have to hope opportunity will find me, and I will be ready when it comes. And I have to keep hoping Fate will send help and that I can eek by until it does. And I hope I can hang on to my dreams of a regular life, with regular things. And days when I don't constantly feel like an outsider, different and unwanted by those around me.

Day 3234 - 5/9 - Maybe not itchy

Today I am feeling less itchy. Hopefully flipping the things fixed it. I always worry that something will get on my cloths during a wash. I am allergic to so many things now. It seems I very easily react. I don't know if it's because it's just part of getting older, which it seems to be, or if it's because my health is so poor, I have so much extra stress, and things are so out of control in general.

No donations today, or in weeks, so it seems there is no change today yet. Which makes me very sad and stressed. But I have to try and relax. I have to try to not focus on what I can't control, or it will break me. Hopefully I'll have a good time in the class I TA for, and have enough bandwidth to watch shows and play, and I can focus on the few happy things I do have. I have to continue to hold on that help will come and that I can someday have my forever better days and forever home. It's all I can do.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2017
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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