My first sleep – 11pm
After three hours of talking, I was tired. I asked Kenneth if I could sleep in his alley. So we walked down the alley together in search of a vacancy. He showed me each available “room”. “This is a 2-star place. This one here is ok. Oh here is a 4-star room”. We both laughed. I like the fact that Kenneth has a good sense of humor. And in case you are wondering, I did pick the “4-star room”. Before going to sleep, Kenneth gave me three yogurts and the cranberry juice he was given earlier. I had nothing to eat for breakfast, so this was perfect for me.
I was all bundled up in my sleeping bag and blanket. This is the first time in my life that I was sleeping on the streets with no roof over my head. I was sleeping in a downtown Vancouver alley during the Christmas holidays. While many North Americans were excited about upcoming dinners and presents, I was homeless. I laid awake for most of the night. One of the reasons I had trouble falling asleep was that I could not stretch out my legs comfortably in such a tight space. I slept with my shoes on and put all my belongings between the wall and me. I did not want to get jacked and have this project end after my first day.
In the middle of the night, I heard a car pull up right next to me. I was not able to see this car, but I could hear the door open and someone walk towards me. The pallet was blocking my view (see picture). I have to admit, with all the fear our society harbors, the first thought that came to my mind was that it is either a gang member or a police officer. I will get beaten or harassed. I was scared and I did not know what was going to happen to me.
A man stuck his head over the pallet asking “are you hungry?” I replied with a shaky “no”. He held up a Styrofoam plate along with cutlery and asked again, “are you sure?” Again, I replied with a shaky “yeah”. I was shaken up with fear within my head. Why did I have these thoughts in my head?
After this incident I started to analyze my thoughts more deeply. I came to the conclusion that fear is actually more dangerous than anything. In general, if I am fearful of a certain situation then I would not be able to communicate effectively. Having a shaky voice, shattering teeth, and a million thoughts racing through one’s head, would actually make matters much worse. Even if someone wanted to steal from me, it would be better to calmly hand over my possessions than to do it nervously.