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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 10: Wisp of Hope

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 503

Day 3515 - 2/14 - Not itchy

Today was better than expected, I suppose. It was sweeties day, and I still have no sweetie. I did see the cute blonde girl with tattoos, but she just passed by checking her phone. There has only been one hello since the first. But things weren't too sad overall. I suppose since I've had more sweeties days alone than not I am used to it, and so it is just a day like any other.

I had a pretty good time watching shows and playing games. Though the sad things weighed heavily on my mind. The clocks are still ticking away and I still don't know how I'll manage to cover the costs I need to.

I got a surprise yesterday. I checked the ex-house for mail and there was a package for me. No one had said to expect anything, so it was a total surprise. It was anti-itch cream. And it's a ton in comparison to the free packets from school, so I shouldnt have to worry about being itchy in the future when outbreaks happen.

It's super cold again tonight. It seems like it will keep being cold for a while, which is super sad. But I try to have fun with my day. I try to look past the sad things. And I try to continue to hope help comes and I can hang on until better days.

Day 3516 - 2/15 - Two, at most

Today is pretty terrible emotionally. The day was fine. I played and watched some shows and had an ok time on social pages. But I am almost completely out of gas. So that, along with the things I need to pay, were constantly on my mind. I have, I would guess, two days at most before my car is empty. And I really don't have money in my account at all. Yes, there is a tiny bit saved for the next bank fee in a few weeks, but I really can't spend that.

So I don't know what I'll do. But I really don't have any choice. Without help, short term, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday I'll have to be on foot. Which is both a huge risk to my feet since I shouldn't be walking at all, and of course a huge risk to my car as it is then unmoving, something that absolutely should not happen while homeless. That will rapidly be a massive risk if I can't move my car.

But I will have no choice. I'm hoping help will come by the end of the weekend, but it seems less and less likely with each day that passes. So this is my current forced plan. And if no help comes by the end of the weekend I don't think I'll have any choice and I'll have to leave the car where it is.

But I will decide tomorrow. And I will have to hope help comes. But my days are the darkest they have ever been.

Day 3517 - 2/16 - Very sad

Today I felt very extremely sad all day. No help came, though I put up another emergency help call on the social page, so hopefully people will see and send help.

My gas is too short to leave the car as-is. I have to go recycle in the morning. Though I have my doubts it will get more than $3 past what I use, which means it will all have to be saved for emergencies. But with being homeless this will likely rapidly get very bad. Both for my car and chance at recovery, as an unmoving car has a greatly increased chance of being spotted. And bad for me in that any walking beyond my normal to and from the parking lot will rapidly cause pain and swelling because of my flat feet and bad ankle.

And there isn't anything I can really do. I am already doing what I can within my means, and the rest is beyond my control. All I need is $1 a day for gas and a bit more for occasional other costs. All it seems I can do is continue to hope help comes, as I don't need much, and that I can continue to hold on emotionally and financially until my forever better days come and I'm back on my feet proper.

Day 3518 - 2/17 - The apparition of the gray ghost

Today I am on my way to better. In the morning I made a very lame trip to recycle. I spent one gallon of gas to get there. And I had mentally prepared myself for leaving the car unmoving for a while. But when I logged in to the library and checked email two donations were waiting for me. One from the gray ghost, who I don't think I've heard from since Xmas, and I don't think I've actually seen in about 1.5 years or more. (Though it's not unusual for us to be out of contact for great periods of time.) The other donation was from my in-game friend.

So, with those two big donations I should be safe for a bit. In quick math it should cover my next car insurance, the stupid break light ticket, sending back my gaming headphones to be replaced, and, in theory, an entire month of gas, with just a liiiitttle bit left over. The ghost said to get the hamburger, so since school is often the best deal I'll probably save that for Thursday night to have while watching my live show. Barely any would be left after if my math is right, but that covers the important things for a while.

The connection at the library was pretty good, and after my good news of the donations I slowly started to feel better. Unfortunately, again at around 1 PM the AC came on and started blasting me with cold. Even with my hoodie on I was cold most of the afternoon.

But once the monies clear things can settle a bit. It should hold for a while, and hopefully I can continue to hold on until my forever better days.

Day 3519 - 2/18 - The great upheaval

Today I felt like crying most of the day. It was difficult to not. In the morning I was at the ex-garage changing cloths. Some people came in with the ex-roomie to move some furniture out. In a way it was good, though I should always be invisible, it did give me the chance to offer to help by moving all my stuff which was in the way out of the way. So, I got to control where it went and keep it all together in one area. Though the ex-roomie said they want to clean things out a bit, so I'm not sure how much more change is yet to come. The ex-roomie said I could still keep my stuff there, but we might need to move it to a more difficult to reach spot.

So really today just kind of reinforced there is a shattered me. I am in two halves. One is the shattered, broken, physical body. That one is the most broken, and the one suffering daily and becoming more damaged over time. Always at risk. Always worried. Always afraid. Seemingly always unwelcome with no place I truly belong. And there is the other half of me, the spirit, the me that was and that may yet still be. That is a preserved core, safe, held in stasis in the boxes. It is only by knowing that me is safe that the external me can hang on.

I have to focus on the fact that even though things may change a bit - the things I have that are keeping me hanging on - those will still be safe. They will still be waiting in stasis. Things may move around a bit. I may need to shuffle things in the future a bit. But the me that needs to be safe and secure for the rest of me to hang on is still safe, and still secure. It may just need to be a bit... different.

Day 3520 - 2/19 - Freezing day

Today was freezing. I don't want to be outside of school for a number of reasons. When I arrived at the food store I was hopeful it would be a good day. It was warm, completely dead due to the holiday, and the sitting spot I prefer was open. That changed pretty quickly though, as about 45 minutes after being there the door broke and was stuck open for the rest of the day. The heat competely bled out in less than 5 minutes, and I spent the rest of the day feeling like I was in the cold outside. It was so ridiculous though, as I took a break in the afternoon and my car in the sun was nice and warm.

I guess the day was ok though. I barely got any sleep last night, but the day passed easier and quicker than expected. Though as I sneeze now I am reminded I was sneezing all day. I don't know if that is from a cold or massive allergies kicked up from the ex-garage upheaval.

For now all I can do is continue to hang on, emotionally and physically, and hopefully there are better days ahead.

Day 3521 - 2/20 - Defrosting

Today seems like I am starting to relax and get back to my current homeless normal. It is a bit different in that it was so cold last night and this morning my car was a bit frosted over. And, so far, I'm sneezing about every 5 minutes, so it definitely seems like I've caught a cold the past few days.

But my money finally made it to my account. (I should have spent the $0.25 to have it rushed. I didn't think it would be delayed all weekend.) So this morning I got to send my headphones for replacement - just in time as the RMA expires on something like Saturday and it should get there Thursday. And I have micro foods for the day and I'm starting to warm up and relax.

So hopefully the rest of the day will be ok. Hopefully I can try and relax and maybe have some fun. And hopefully soon my forever better days will come.

Week 504

Day 3522 - 2/21 - Up and down

Today I am pretty sad again, for a number of reasons. First, yesterday I stopped by and checked mail at the ex-house. There was a notice my yearly membership fee (for the insurance) is due in a month. I'd thought that wasn't due until May. So, even saving most of the donations (after the insurance, fix it ticket, and some gas), I may only have half that bill. Without more donations between now and then I don't know how I'll pay it.

I'm still super sick. Lots of others are sniffly and sneezy too, so this is definitely a cold that came up, probably when this extreme cold first came in a week ago.

I've added another under shirt layer and I'm still cold. And checking the weather, all the way until the forecast ends it is still really cold and even showing raining towards the weekend.

There was some conference at school when I went to cook. There were some statistics. One of them said that in our county, one of the richest in the U.S. there are close to 7,500 homeless. That's crazy. I'd figured it was more like 5%of that. Assuming the county is only about a 10 square mile area, that's basically 75 per 1 square mile area. That seems crazy. This figure made me pretty depressed because there shouldn't be anywhere near that figure with this area's wealth.

But with all that sadness and depression I guess I survived the day. As long as I survive there is a chance tomorrow will be a better day. I just have to continue to hope help comes and I can continue on.

Day 3523 - 2/22 - Sad that I'm sad

Today was basically good, but in a way surprisingly sad. First, it was super ridiculously cold. I had my hoody on almost all day, which is ridiculous since I'm inside. I think a big part of it is because I have this cold.

Second, I was quite surprised when I went to get a hamburger from the cafeteria. I think it's probably been a year since I last had one and I was not at all prepared for what that meant emotionally. When I went up to the cafeteria without a microwave food it felt wrong, foreign, as if I'd forgotten something and had no way to recover. That foreign feeling alone was enough to be weird. But then getting the yummy food, having them in my hands... I was effectively hugging the food. I cradled it close to my heart, like it was the most precious thing ever. I was terribly afraid I'd drop even just one fry, and felt like if I did I would lose it and start crying.

It's not the fact that these things felt foreign and odd that affected me the most. It's just the fact that something so simple affected me so deeply. I don't know what a normal life is anymore. I don't feel or think normally anymore. (Though I suppose I wonder if I ever really did, or will.) But again I try to stay positive. I try to think and hope I'll be ok and that I can recover. And I hope help continues to come and I can make it until then.

Day 3524 - 2/23 - Throwing away me

Today ended extremely sadly. It started out meh with my Friday class. Not only do I not really care about the material, but I'm just not enjoying the class. Plus, I am still really sick, so I wanted to do nothing at all besides sit and be still.

The day actually started pretty good. I had a nice warm shower, and on the way out someone said she liked my hair. I felt bad I didn't say thanks, as I thought to say it when I was about 10 feet away. (I did smile at her when she said it.) I am still so out of it in terms of normal interactions I both never expect people to talk to me and never expect a compliment.

But it ended very badly because it was extremely emotional. Since Saturday I've had my old futon mattress in my car. A few years ago the ex-garage had a minor flood, and so a few inches of the bottom had molded. I don't know if the damage was all the way through or just on the replaceable outer cover. It was requested I get rid of it.

Of all of my memories of my history, one of the few good ones was getting that mattress. I had come off of being homeless for a few months and happened upon my (now) ex-roomie. She said I could stay on her couch and a few months later we agreed I could have a temporary room there (for a few years). She took me out for my birthday to celebrate, as that weekend was when I could move in to the room. (A time she and her guy would be out on vacation for a week, so I was on my own to settle in.) She offered to get me that mattress so I could have a bed, and we'd found a nice little computer table too. (In total about $125 for both.) She said she would go ahead and get both for me. I was so very surprised and happy. I had a nice new home with a friend, and now a nice bed and table for my computer, and it was my birthday with a week alone to settle in.

So I think, being attached to one of my few truly happy memories, especially one of being given a home, I was purposely hanging on to the futon, not wanting to let that go. Tonight I took it to a trash. I remembered that day. And remembered the day I was put out. And suddenly I found myself crying at the thought that it felt like I was being made to trash my happy memory. I was forced to trash what is needed for a happy home. I was forced to trash... me.

I only cried for a few minutes before I knew that is not really true. But I can't help that is how I feel - that I feel like I am being put out like trash. But I am still here, shattered as I may be. And most of me is still in storage. And eventually a new mattress can be bought. And hopefully I can hang on until I find my true forever home.

Day 3525 - 2/24 - More fees

Today I feel better than expected, likely due to being one step closer to clearing this stupid fix it ticket. There were more fees. An additional $20 in fact. The guy said all places charge a fee to clear the ticket and the only way to not pay that would be to find an officer on the road. So, there went everything I had been saving. I will have to check in the morning, but at this point I think I'm down to the money for the ticket, and the gas I have in my car (a couple of weeks worth), and that's it.

I decided on my way back to make a tiny detour. There was a mall right off of the freeway, so I decided to kill some time there. I haven't done that since the early days of being homeless. It was weird. The place was completely packed. I went through the food court and there were tons of wonderful smells. Everyone was eating and busy buying stuff.

It's strange to think back to when I had a life like that. Though most lacked shopping bags, it's probably been about 25 years since I had the money to go to the mall and shop and eat at the food court. It brought up old memories of going to get games that I'd pre-ordered, something you had to do back then, as shops might otherwise only get 5-10 copies of a thing at launch.

It brought up even older memories too, ones when I was a teen and me and the Gray Ghost would go to the mall and hang out at the arcade, or just work on pen and paper game characters for hours, or otherwise just kill time before hopping on the bus to get to the local gamer meeting.

I suppose they were good memories, of freer times. And so my spirit is lifted for a brief moment. But now in the rapidly freezing temperature, with bills I can't pay just around the corner, I rapidly grow sad, and am brought back to today, and now.

But I try and hang on. I try to hope for help and opportunity. And hopefully I can make it to my forever better days.

Day 3526 - 2/25 - Clenching my jaw

Today started with warming up. The morning was cold, but not quite as cold as it has been lately. I stayed in the corner at the food store though, where I wouldn't be chilled by the door opening and closing.

The rain clouds seem gone, at least for the moment, so I left about 45 minutes before the library opened to sit and warm up while I had lunch. It was indeed nice and warm though checking the temperature later I guess the day didn't get much over 60F. It's crazy what seems warm or cold to me now. Now, as the sun goes down, things are even more rapidly getting cold. I hope it doesn't get too much colder.

I confirmed my sad suspicion. I have nothing left in my bank account. I have the 25 for the fix it ticket ,and a bit for the monthly bank fee, the gas in my car, and nothing more. I even had to put the $2 I had in my wallet back into my account to be sure I had enough. I'm even nervous about getting a stamp to mail the stupid ticket.

But I feel ok. Maybe it's because I got warmed up, if even for a little bit. But the lack of money, zero bandwidth at the library, and sad feelings about my life, didn't seem to bother me as much today. Hopefully more help will continue to come, and I can hang on until then.

Day 3527 - 2/26 - Return of the rain

Today it has been raining quite a bit. It's very weird that yesterday there wasn't a single rain cloud in the sky, and then in the wee hours to mid morning it rained, and now again in the evening. It seemed like it had gone. I suppose it's ok in that it's just a touch warmer when it does, and people avoid rain, so it's often easier for me to stay hidden.

Things were extra sad, as I am again worried being out of money and down to the gas that's in my tank. And I'll have to be super extremely conservative with food, as I'm nearly out of food monies. I suppose the good news is the donation took care of the immediate looming bills, so I at least have a tiny bit of breathing room.

Due to my various sads I didn't really feel like playing much. I did play for a few hours. I played this. I played that. But overall I felt just a hair on the side of happy from meh. Mostly I just felt meh. Not that I had a bad time, it's just that being so sad I was held back from feeling happy or excited about anything.

But I survived the day. I feel terribly overweight and out of shape. I feel overly grumpy and very upset. And I feel worried for my future. But I survive and continue on. And sometimes that has to be enough. As always, I hope I can continue, and I hope help continues to come and I can hang on until better days.

Day 3528 - 2/27 - Itchy itchy itchy

Today my eyes are super itchy. I guess they have been itchy for a few days now. It seems to be the greatest symptom of my current cold. Itchy eyes, congestion, sneezing, scratchy throat, and my asthma triggering at almost everything are all the symptoms, but the itchy eyes are by far the most intense. But I can only scratch/smoosh them if my contacts aren't in. Granted I could take them out and do that pretty much whenever, but the more stuff that's on my hand and in my eye, the greater the risk of damaging the contacts. I just put new ones in the other day, leaving only two more pair, so I have to be extremely cautious.

In spite of my cold and extreme money worries I feel ok. Maybe it's becuase the rain has gone for the moment, or maybe because I'm at school and I know I should just be able to rest and recover. Whatever the reason I will try and hang on to it and feel a bit better. And hopefully I can make it to my forever better days.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2018
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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