I guess it was last Thursday night… I had parked at a great place to sleep. It was one of those streets where every car parks with the right wheels up on the curb, which balances out the van, and makes a completely flat, even sleeping space. It was quiet and peaceful, and I fell asleep easily. In the middle of the night I was woken by red flashing lights and a bright light that came through my window. I thought “here it is! This is the moment that the police will knock on my windows and ask what I’m doing!” So I waited for the knock, and ran through my head what I would say. No knock came… still flashing lights… still bright light coming through my window curtains, and still my heart beating heavily.
I waited for what seemed like forever, and still nothing! Let’s get this over with! I need to sleep! I even, very slowly parted a curtain for a brief second, and I could see them out there! They were right behind me! And nothing. After about a half hour the lights went off and they left… never disturbing me even once – at least not on purpose! Eventually I managed to go back to sleep.
On reflection, I’m thinking that one of the houses called the paramedics, and they were there for that, though I don’t really know what happened. All I know is that no one seemed to care that I was sleeping there – if they even knew!
Last night (Monday night) I went and parked at a place near where I’d parked before. I moved a couple times because the first place I tried to park, someone was walking a dog, and there were kids near, and I didn’t want to cause any alarm for anyone. The second place I parked was a favorite, but a person in the house came out and was adjusting the garbage cans and saw me sitting in the drivers seat. I was going to stay anyway, but decided – why take the chance!? I moved on.
Finally I parked next to the side of a house, back from several apartment garage spaces, and I was quiet and moved as little as possible while trying to prepare myself for bed. Finally I got settled in. Then, a loud bus type vehicle pulled up beside me and parallel parked behind me – backing into a space where it barely fit. It was loud and it’s lights were bright!. I heard them talking and laughing while still able to see lights from the vehicle through my curtains in the back. After a few minutes of this, I finally parted the curtains a little to see what was going on. They had interior lights on, and they were setting up to sleep for the night! No stealth! No quiet, no… hoping no one sees them… it was very obvious! Then they quieted down, and they, and I went to sleep!
I woke early in the morning – they were still there – and I drove off as usual. The interesting thing to me was that I’m always really cautious about stealth, and I drive a vehicle that, at least somewhat, blends in. Theirs…. not at all!
I’m really glad both of those things happened, because, now I really know that I don’t have to worry so much. Seriously! There are a lot of people sleeping in vans and motor homes and buses around Berkeley, and no one does or says anything about it!
I will still be quiet. I still don’t want to be noticed. But I will sleep in peace, and not worry so much about where I park now!