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Epic Fail: The Journal of a Homeless Gamer
Book 12: Unknown Beyond

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.

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These include the Table of Contents, Glossary and links, all weeks, all pictures, and index.


Week 613

Day 4285 (V:9) - 3/25 - Maybe good news

Today I felt like a nervous bunny. Which I guess is not unusual these days. I'm terrified all the time now. A few times while in the lot I've gotten a scare and my heart raced each time. One sheriff passed by very slowly up and down not every other isle, but all of them, so they went right behind me. I have to try and stay calm because they are looking for trouble. Me sitting in my car is not trouble. There is no reason I should worry. But I do. I can't help it.

Today felt extremely unusually long. By the time it was barely noon it felt like three days had passed. I don't know why things were moving so slowly, but several times I looked at the time and only like 15 minutes had passed.

In some good and bad news I was talking to my phone people about the phone my ex-roomie is giving me and it seems I can't change my plan easily. A change would require $10 for a new SIM kit, deleting my current account, waiting 72 hours, resurrecting the account in the new form, and then paying the new minimum of $15 a month, or $25 for the slightly better plan. The good news if I did that would be it has unlimited talk time (compared to my 30 minutes) and a fair bit of data. But that is a huge increase over the $3 a month I'm paying now. And apparently the good news on that is I'm grandfathered into that plan, which doesn't exist as an option for new customers.

The really promising news is I've been hearing the economy is rapidly getting wrecked. While that isn't good news, the indirect result of that is the president wants that to stop. Especially since the economy couldn't recover before the end of the year if this continues to the 12th, even more so if it continued after. Since that is past the election he absolutely won't want to risk losing voters. So the resulting good news is he is saying he wants to restart things after the minimum amount of quarantine time, which is only 5 days from now. That would vastly help my situation if it started that soon. Even if it didn't open the library or school for a while, even just opening more stores and letting people work would vastly increase my ability to hide among other cars and likely re-open public connection areas. So I try to stay hopeful things will reverse much sooner than expected for me, but also for so many others who are greatly hurting from the forced closures. I don't want people to get sick at all, but if others can't buy food or pay rent that is a big risk to their other needs.

So while I am still terrified and in the worst position ever, I am hopeful that it seems like I may be back to homeless normal much sooner than expected.

Day 4286 (V:10) - 3/26 - Missing my favorite event / School online

Today there is sad news. My favorite yearly event has started in my MMO and there is really no way I can participate. Even if I can somehow get enough power, unplugged my FPS just couldnt handle combat. It even struggles just to move around the world. I really look forward to it each year, as it's one of the few ways I can celebrate bunny day. But unless some kind of miracle happens I will miss it since it's only a week long.

There is some sad school news too. I got a message that next quarter is 100% online. While I should get access to the software I'd need through school, and if not someone promised to help me get a subscription, not being at school will be very problematic. The greatest concern is will I be able to connect online at all. If the library re-opens on the 12th as they originally said they would I'm fine. (Even more so if they open sooner due to presidential order.) But if not, and I'm left with the connections I have and no power except for recharging as I am now, it will be almost completely impossible to manage.

And then there are non-class losses as well. The biggest is shower and cooked food. Getting showers three times a week is a huge boost in feeling normal. Getting cooked food, even if it is just microwave food, is a huge boost to my getting anything close to proper meals. Sure, salad is good, and I have that once or maybe twice a week, but lunchmeat the rest of the time is a far cry from what I can do with micro foods.

I guess I will still have to wait and see. I'm still trying to stay hopeful things start to return to normal as early as the 1st, so my stress will at least get lowered by not being so suspicious being out in my car in a parking lot or out and about in general. Ideally the library will open too, but not being deemed essential at all, nor connected directly to the economy, it seems unlikely.

As always it seems everything is out of my control and all I can do is try to remain hopeful and try to hang on.

Day 4287 (V:11) - 3/27 - Shaking, panicking, and crying

Today was a very bad day. Oddly the morning up until noon I felt pretty good. There were a ton of people around me all day, making it extremely easy to blend in with everyone else.

But by the afternoon things started to turn. I thought about how some are buying lots of food and going to be safe home for a few weeks. And I can't do that. I again started thinking how I'm forced to be at basically the most dangerous spot. Even if I manage to hide things and pee in my car to avoid going in that still means I go in once or twice a day to get food and/or poop. I try to remind myself that everyone is being extremely careful and with as long as the incubation time is the new cases coming up are likely people who were infected before we started being careful. So I should be ok if everyone else is careful too.

But such thoughts are of little comfort with only podcasts and music to really distract me. From pretty much noon on my hands were visibly shaking from anxiety. A few times I started almost panic breathing. And a few times I cried. It is very hard to hold back the tears now. Especially hearing people in their homes nearby laughing and having a good time in their home.

I don't know what I did wrong to be outcast all these years and not have enough close friends who both know about my sad situation, but could offer shelter and help. The Gray ghost is helping when he can. The ex-roomie is giving me stuff to try and keep things disinfected. But that's it for local people. The only others who care are online. Some even hundreds of miles away, or even in other countries. And even those people are extremely few.

I continue to hope this crisis makes more realize just how fragile we are. How precious and short life is even in the best of conditions. And hopefully people move forward being more caring and more honest with each other, and learn to let things go that aren't important in order to help others out.

All day just about I have been terrified, shaking, panicking, and crying. Anything to reduce my stress would be greatly helpful right now. But with things being so bad, and my options so limited, I constantly fear losing what little I have left.

Day 4288 (V:12) - 3/28 - Gray, inside and out

Today was very gray inside and out. I was glad of the rain, which it did rain most of the day and evening so far. It let me keep my car mostly closed, which helps me feel safe. And everyone ignored me, as I either went totally unnoticed, or they were too worried about the rain.

In a home today would have been great. I always find rain calming. I probably wuold have peeked my window open just a touch to hear it and smell the fresh rain air while I played games or watched shows. In the evening I would have cooked a little something special and watched a movie, as that's been a thing since I've been single.

But that is not my life anymore. I have no home, not even a room, so I can't do that. And with everything closed and all my access to the Internet and power blocked off, today was little more than sitting in my car and listening to things. Though I suppose I am very glad I at least have that. That helps a lot.

I was still pretty scared today, but not quite as much since I could isolate myself since nearly all day it was cold. I still hope the president can push his agenda and get things open soon. There were talks today, and will be tomorrow, as he's still pushing for that to start on the 1st. But right now all I have is what I have. And seemingly all I can do is pray help comes, hope things don't get worse, and hope things get better for everyone.

Day 4289 (V:13) - 3/29 - Doesn't seem promising

Today is very sad. At 4:30 I got some news that doesn't seem promising. It seems the meetings with the president have convinced him to keep things closed, as he's increased, not decreased, the social distancing time period to all the way through April 30th. I guess I should remain hopeful because there was no mention of the shelter in place being extended, so maybe that will be lifted and changed to a suggestion. And apparently full rules for the extended social distancing will be announced by Tuesday. But this breaks my heart because it sounds like it would force the library to probably remain closed during that time, or if open close the seating areas. Meaning no access to the Internet or power beyond what I have already, which is almost non-existent. All I can try and hope for is that these rules and exceptions will be something that allows places to open, including the library.

My hair is beginning to drive me crazy. Parts I normally shave completely have been growing since this all started weeks ago. While I feel I should probably let my hair be more 'normal' so I don't stand out as much, I guess I need to start considering patterns to keep it manageable. I think tonight, Sundays, I'll make an attempt to shave and do a sponge bath as a regular thing. Hopefully it will be enough, as I've previously shaved dry with a disposable razor and it's nowhere near as good as my regular one. But I don't know if just shaking my razor out in a little bowl of water will work since it's not an old school straight razor designed for that.

Today is not yet over. Almost 1/3 of it remains. In terms of mood and managing stress it has been a bit better than average so far. But with this sad news of the extended social distancing I worry that means access to critical things I need both to feel ok and function as a normal person will remain effectively non-existent much longer than I thought it would.

Day 4290 (V:14) - 3/30 - Feeling slightly safer

Today I'm feeling slightly safer. There again (so far) have been no security passes through the parking area. And there have been enough people coming and going I've been ignored, and spaced a few spaces away from where I'm parked.

There hasn't been news of the social distancing rules, but I'm trying to be hopeful things will calm down a bit as I keep forgetting I'm in one of like 8 or 12 areas in the entire country that have the shelter in place as a rule (instead of a suggestion). I think since that runs out tomorrow things should remain relaxed through the day and hopefully that will remain.

But, as always, it seems the important things are out of my control and all I can do is hope help comes, and I can make it through my bills and these terrible times.

Day 4291 (V:15) - 3/31 - Trying to hope

Today I am hoping things will go well and good news about the state of things comes along. This is the last required day of the shelter in place, so hopefully it will become a recommended suggestion as the different social distancing rules take effect and things start to open up.

I am still fearful during these terrible times, but I am trying to remain hopeful my life can at least somewhat return to 'homeless normal' again soon. I try to continue to hang on and hope help will come soon, as my gas is running out and bills loom ahead. But with as rare as help is these days, and things being so extra sad for everyone, help for my bills and troubles seems unlikely. But I try to continue to remain hopeful. For myself and everyone.

Week 614

Day 4292 (V:16) - 4/1 - Another 32 days

Today I am still reeling from what seems like an insane decision to extend the stay at home order by 32 days, just over a month, ending now May 3rd. I get wanting to keep people healthy, I really do, but this is a virus. Controlling these six or eight counties does just about nothing for the spread if it comes from outside. The vast majority of the country is not doing this. Sure, maybe these areas have the greatest population. But what about homelessness? Or just straight up eating and paying bills? Sure, some in the area can work from home, but what about the probably 75% of everyone else who lives paycheck to paycheck? The majority of them, I'd guess, will have an extremely hard time, or simply not be able to survive, having a six week pay cut. Even if the $1200 stimulus is guaranteed that may not cover much income lost for those 1.5 months for those people.

For me, I continue to be very worried. Today may be one of the last days I use my laptop to check in. I mean I kind of really should at least log in once a week, but there is no one using laptops anymore out in public. While people checking phones is extremely common, people with even smaller tablets like mine is an extremely rare sight. I had my laptop set up outside for a bit, saw a sheriff at the very extreme end of the parking lot as I was packing up, and just about had a heart attack from how fast my heart was racing worrying if they saw me with it out. (Even though it was unlikely they saw me at all at that distance.)

Granted I really shouldn't have anything to fear, even with 32 more days. If you look at the whole of it I'm 1/3 of the way through with no trouble really at all. There really is no indication of things changing, nor any reason I should be in a position to be in trouble. But I am still extremely fearful. I am still extremely stressed, both from my general sad life, and now this additional worry. I am still having sort of panic attacks where I get shaky and almost start to cry uncontrollably.

There is maybe a bit of good news. I put the video watching site app on my phone and tested it out. It worked pretty good and there was far less drain on it (compared to my laptop or tablet.) If this was a normal amount, I think it was about 15 minutes of video for just a few percent of battery. That is about 1/3 of the cost on my tablet. Though honestly there isn't a lot I keep up with these days, as a lot of the normal news things I would watch will be outdated or unnecessary by the time I can play and do stuff normally again.

I also downloaded the app for one of the sites I watch shows. Unfortunately it didn't fare as well. It streamed for about 3 minutes then stopped, likely due to low bandwidth. I tried again later and it had the same pattern. So it seems the outside locations I normally use are too weak to stream shows. So, sadly I guess that means I may miss m shows, as the sites typically only keep the most recent 5 online.

I did get a nice donation today, hooray. But there was much sad news for today. I feel burnt out, my ears are constantly ringing, and I am constantly a touch dizzy, almost certainly both from lack of sleep and extreme and constant overstimulation. But, I guess I survived the day. And all I can do is try to continue to move forward one day at a time and hope I can make it through.

Day 4293 (V:17) - 4/2 - One whole show

Today started out ok. I decided to try and watch a show again in the morning, on the theory there might be more bandwidth. I don't know if that was the reason, but I actually did get through a whole show. It wasn't a great experience though. The phone screen is pretty tiny, like 5", which even compared to my 7" mini tablet seemed incredibly small. It ate around 40% of the battery to do it, so it's a pretty big hit to watch something that big. I might test the drain for a show on my tablet to compare. I've watched a few shows on it before and it was ok quality. Small news on games and such is fine though, as the drain for short videos is almost nothing and the quality on the phone isn't a big deal since they don't require a lot of visual quality, but as I think I said I don't feel super compelled to stay current on everything with that, since with 31 days left before I can even try and do any gaming again many of the things talked about seem unattainable.

It was pretty hot in the afternoon today, but with no sign of patrols, and a pretty high shopping population, I felt reasonably ok. It still didn't feel good sitting in the public parking lot all day, but really that and the main roads are the only places with traffic. Though from what I've seen from the afternoon on it seems there is no shortage of people walking, jogging, or biking around. It seems those activities don't count for the stay at home order. Which I guess is good, as that does at least give me some options to blend in if I want to consider alternate things. But, my anxiety about being exposed, both as an outsider and to the virus, has me freaking out sometimes pretty badly when I'm not sealed in my car.

I suppose though these days where I get through without confrontation or anything bad happening should still be counted as a win. There seems very little I can do to control my nerves or fears these days.

As always it seems all I can do is try to hang on as best as I can. Maybe I can think up some alternatives to help calm my nerves or make me feel safe. But it feels like everything is totally out of control and I'm more afraid than ever I may lose what little is left. Or worse, lose my life.

Day 4294 (V:18) - 4/3 - Controlling the flow

Today was extra sad. It started ok, and lots of people filled the lot most of the day and I felt pretty well camouflaged. But just past afternoon I got very sad. I felt sad about all the time I've lost in my life, not just the time since I've become homeless. But again I wondered how I've become so much of an outsider that there has been no one to catch me when I've fallen. I thought about how I've tried all these homeless years, and several before, to try to have more in life. To try to continue to move ahead and get into that better position instead of just surviving week to week and paycheck to paycheck. Yet I've never gotten it. And with the few times I've felt like I've had a solid chance, I've been more taken advantage of than helped in such a better position, putting me no closer to a real step forward.

When thinking of all of this I again started trembling, breathing quickly, and cried a little. It took all I had several times today to not start uncontrollably crying.

Last night while doing a sponge type bath cleaning I noticed I've probably lost a lot of weight these past few weeks. Which really isn't surprising, as I'm probably only getting 50% of the calories I would have been getting in a normal school day. I'm not really hungry. All the stress and worry has my heart racing and I'm trembling much of the time, so it's rare I'm genuinely hungry. And on the rare occasion I am I have to carefully consider what such a meal would do to my system, as it's so very fragile lately.

Today it looks like the food store has started to control the number of people entering and being in the store at any given time. They have one entrance completely blocked off, and only a few checkers open, every other or once every three, apart. On the one hand that makes me very concerned it will discourage the number of people around me. I've seen 5-10% of people just turn around and leave when they saw a line. On the other hand it seems that has greatly increased the length of time per stay. Which means my sitting outside and appearing to be waiting for someone would actually be more visually ignored.

The weather seemed weird. In the sun in my car it was incredibly hot from the afternoon on. But leaving my car to go into the shade near the building the breeze made me freezing cold. I watched another full show and within 15 minutes in the shade, with my hoodie on, I was still shivering a bit from the cold.

I started watching on my tablet and the drain wasn't too bad. It probably would have drained about 30% for a full show. However, the tablet takes about 3x as long to charge, so that kind of loss is upwards to just over an hour additional charge time compared to the phone taking 20-30 minutes for that same amount of drain. I guess it wasn't too bad on the phone. The screen is about 75% of the tablet size and this show I didn't feel like I was losing as much visually as the last. (I switched to the phone after the first 25% and saw the drain estimate.) I'll probably just stick to the phone for video watching since I have so few things to watch until their season ends.

It's only just late afternoon, maybe barely early evening. But I suppose I've lasted another day. But with 30 more for the shelter in place period to end it feels like an impossible task that I may not survive with how fragile and shattered my health has become. I am starting to jump at the smallest of things, then panic for a while after. And I grow more and more fearful I may suffer that fatal heart attack the doctor warned me I was in danger of.

Day 4295 (V:19) - 4/4 - A little bit of homeless normal

Today, a few times, I felt a little bit closer to homeless normal. There were no patrols through the lot, and with only two yesterday seemingly looking for someone specific, I felt pretty safe from official persecution. It was gray in the morning, and by about 11 it started heavily sprinkling. It continued to rain more on than off the rest of the day, so I kept my windows closed, and I felt hidden from the attention of those around me.

I did do a bit extra of stuff watching. I watched two shows of one of my favorite shows, getting caught up or to the end of the season. The last show felt like a regular show, so I don't know if it was the finally or not. I watched a few videos for hardware and some video game news. Reviews of the new laptop I've been wanting to get are starting to show up and are super positive. It can run the newest games at high settings at 75-100 FPS depending on how demanding the game is. Also, the CPU is very low power, yet super powerful, matching the performance of those twice its power requirement. So, combined with the bigger battery, that means its battery life is insane compared to my current one. Reviews played games for several hours, and used creative software for several hours on battery. That would really be critical for me if my inability to do stuff while plugged in continues once school starts up. (Which it would for at least two weeks.) That would mean my current use time of probably 45 minutes with the software and 0 gaming would increase to several hours doing either or both. The original release date showed the 10th, just in time for bunny day, but that seems to have changed to the 30th. I suppose though for the moment that is still just a wish on my list. But it would be greatly helpful for school, or maybe even if I could somehow find people to do creative stuff for pay while I have access to the software.

I guess really overall today wasn't that different. I guess I just had enough positive things to distract me to feel somewhat hopeful again. Which these days hope for me seems very hard to come by.

The evening is just starting. The sun hasn't even started to set yet. But with the good news, seeing a double rainbow, and getting to watch some shows, I try to hang on to the positive things. And maybe I can make it through these darkest of days.


Double rainbow.
Large

Day 4296 (V:20) - 4/5 - Curtain of rain

Today it rained almost constantly all day. It was actually kind of comforting in that it created a sheet of water over my windows, creating sort of a curtain between me and the rest of the world. It was super cold and even with my under layers back on for the day I was shivering a bit during a few points in the day. I dozed off for probably 30 minutes a couple of times during the day, which isn't really unusual these days.

It's not even evening yet, and for the moment the sky has cleared. It looks like it may not stay clear during the night, which I'd prefer it not as that provides more cover. I guess we'll see. The weather is obviously something I can't control.

I feel a touch better emotionally than usual, but still extremely depressed. I have a bit of allergies maybe? A touch of congestion in my very upper chest area. A cough a few times a day. It may be a bit of a cold though, or just too much stress and lately an overabundance of cold weather. My feet right now feel like I've been walking through a bit of a creek; cold and damp. Of course I never know how many of my symptoms may also just be panic and psychosomatic, or anxiety from being out in public and worried about everything.

I suppose, good or bad, better or worse, I survived another day. And all I can do is try my best to hang on. Try my best to stay as healthy as I can. And hopefully I can eventually make it through to better days.

Day 4297 (V:21) - 4/6 - Double under shirt

Today it was rainy and extremely cold, far colder than any other day in a very long time. Since I was so cold yesterday I put on an extra under shirt layer. So now I have five layers. I was warm enough, but with it pouring cold rain nearly all day there were a few points I got a bit too cold.

The day passed quickly enough, kind of quickly for a change. I felt hidden and ok enough emotionally. But now in the early evening I've had a touch of a scare. I feel nervous, anxious, shaken, am trembling a bit, and like I will throw up, cry, or both. I am more worried about if I will make it through than ever before. And so often I feel like I will be ended by that fatal heart attack the doctor warned me about.

Day 4298 (V:22) - 4/7 - Trying to stay hopeful

Today I am trying to stay hopeful. Things have been going the worst ever for me in these darkest of days. And with all the closures and fears there is effectively no chance to find work or change anything. Even the few places which are remaining open have started cutting back staff to accommodate the new social distancing rules.

I keep praying someone who can offer me shelter locally will read my sad story and be able to do so. But I don't think anyone who knows me IRL reads my story. And really only a couple of them have even talked to me recently.

Each day I worry more and more the few comforts I have will remain lost to me. I worry more and more I will remain uncared for and left on the street. And I worry more and more, especially with everything being forced closed, I will never have an opportunity to recover.

Comments and stuff Copyright E. Stryker 2008-2020
Pictures for Epic Fail are taken by me. :)

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