Sunday, August 24, 2008

get out--part two

yes, it is illegal to live in your van, at least that's what the officer told me, and he assured me that if i refused to vacate the premises (which i believe means that i would still be living in a van, but not in his direct line of vision) he would arrest me. i haven't been threatened with arrest ever before, it's so strange how you can wake up one day and get arrested for being where you are. i made very little fuss because i didn't see the point, i was leaving in 10 days anyway, so i just moved my moving date up. i called my slumlord and he acted like he had no idea what was going on. i don't suppose he paid any attention to the notices the city sent him about the lawn violations. he felt bad about what happened, because i'm probably his best tenant, but he's in shit up to his armpits already with all the violations and didn't offer much in the way of explanations. he mostly just wanted me to tell the cops i wasn't living there, that i was just storing my stuff there and happened to spend the night in my van. he must have known that renting that spot to me wasn't legal, but i wasn't interested in lying for him. i'm just glad this happened now and not two months ago.
i have a much better sense of how much stuff i have now since i had to move it all in an hour. three boxes to get rid of by various means, three boxes of things i have to fit in the van, my massage table and massage chair, tools, cat, scooter, bike. not bad, but there has to be some arranging to be sure. the city code enforcement team watched blankly as i carried all my stuff across the alley, speaking spanish they thought i couldn't understand. i wonder if they told their families about me at dinner. crazy white woman. this week is the first week i've started to think about being sick of living in a van. i'm not there yet, and i think it's mostly due to being stuck in one place, i need to DRIVE the van to enjoy it more, and avoid the problems of being too visible.
for now, i'm crashing at terri's place, she was luckily ready for me and didn't mind. i slept in her house last night and it was weird. it's not like i haven't slept in a building lately, i did it on vacation, but this was different. i was "home" but not in my van. i'm anxious to be gone from here. october first is a definite. destination, still unknown. two probable paths, plenty of room for improvisation.


Anonymous said...

How can it be illegal to live in a van and not be illegal to be homeless and live on the street?

I don't see the police arresting the homeless in Denver in anticipation of the DNC convention....the powers that be are giving them haircuts and planning on taking them to the zoo and the movies.

Apparently the police would be happier if you were completely unsheltered. You might want to check with Legal Aid to see if what they told you is really true.

Jack said...

Sometimes circumstance forces you to make decisions that make all the difference. Again, glad this didn't happen two months ago, but maybe it's good that the universe is pushing you to make it to the next level.


Living the good life....together!! said...

Wow that is horrible. We are afraid something similar will happen here because it is illegal to be homeless here in Harrison. They actually escort the homeless outside of town. Its horrible especially since there is nothing there. There are no big town nearby or small ones where they drop them off at. In fact, our first day to stay at the rest stop we saw a cop doing that exact thing, dropping a homeless man off at the rest stop since it is just outside of city limits. We are not allowed to have any type of shelters built here or any building used for helping the homeless. Its pure crap if you ask me. I used to help at our local soup kitchen but then they got shut down and had to move outside of town. I cant wait to leave this town!!

Dark-Blue-Night said...

Ok, I've been homeless now for 5 months and i can truthfully say that our society in helping the homeless is a joke.. The programs are better than nothing and that is not saying much.. And yes the police want you to live on the streets so you have to use those programs shelters or whatever.. I think the best way to live nowadays is either save enough money for a piece of land in the middle of nowhere either that or constantly move in your vehicle if your in the city.. Like the police (Pigs) say Just Move On..

I'm Chris Harne said...

Ha. Scratch what I said about Ashland. I guess nowhere is perfect. I wish there was a team of lawyers dedicated to sorting out what people are and are not actually allowed to do, matching laws and ordinances with the constitution itself. I wish they showed up wearing capes and shining bigger and brighter flashlights than the police, just at the right moment. The police kinda just make it up as they go. For good people, the police tend to create an almost unbearable nuisance sometimes. It should be illegal to get my heart rate elevated to the point of explosion.

I'm glad Terri is there. I'm glad that good people are spread around.

Anonymous said...

Suppose your van was a $100,000 RV...would it be illegal then? I know you are leaving that place anyway so I shouldn't be getting all worked up about this. BUT - it does worry me very much that we are losing the ability to make personal choices for our own lives in some places. I wonder if it is really a law or just the cops saying that?
It is especially disturbing that you were parked on private property that you were renting. It's not like you were tresspassing or anything. I just don't get it and hope things change as more people choose to vandwell.

Issa said...

Your line "it's so strange how you can wake up one day and get arrested for being where you are" really hits home for me. Especially since there are things that are illegal that you don't even know about. Recently, my boyfriend and I had gone camping and he had a small knife clipped to his belt (3 3/4 inch blade) in a sheath. We got back to town and went to Target, where he was promptly arrested for the knife. I made a comment at the time that rings similar to yours - it's strange that you can just be walking along in a Target and get arrested for something you didn't even know was illegal.

stranger in a strange van said...

i don't know if it's truly illegal or not, and if i planned on sticking around, i'd find out. maybe i could have handled the situation better, but i don't like to be somewhere i'm not wanted. being an illegal person is something to think about, for sure. you'd think in the "land of the free" it would be ok just to be alive and taking care of oneself, in whatever abnormal fashion that might be.