I’ll give you an example. It started to rain last night in the middle of the night. The worst-case scenario for me because I don’t have any raingear at my campsite. But if the rain gets too bad, I can always go to this great doorway I have scoped out. So, as usual, I got my back-up plan. My blankets were getting a little wet. But it wasn’t raining too hard, mostly a light sprinkle at this point. So I figured I could wait it out until it got light.
But then around 5 AM, Moo Cat the feral cat, soaking wet, decided to wake me up and let me know she was hungry for her breakfast, by sitting on my head and meowing loudly until I finally woke up (Moo Cat is not known for her subtlety).
So I figured, fuck it, I’ll get up, feed my feral cats and pack up my campsite before I get soaked.
But when I went to put my shoes on, I was jolted by the discovery that there was only one shoe. I searched everywhere for the other shoe, but it was nowhere to be found. “Fuck! Where is it? It couldn’t have walked off by itself.”
But then I remembered feeding the cats this big chicken carcass last night. The raccoons must have shown up while I was sleeping and went into a feeding frenzy over the leftover chicken, tearing everything up and making off with my shoe in the process (they really are a malevolent force, them bastard raccoons!).
But I have no choice but to search for my shoe. So I put a plastic bag on my foot, to keep my sock from getting soaked with mud. And stagger down the muddy, slippery hill in search of shoe (falling twice, so now the side of my pants are covered with mud).
But it’s hopeless. So I go back to my campsite and Plan B. Feed my cats. But I can’t find my big can of cat food, either. The bastard raccoons probably made off with that, too.
So now I’m sitting there in the rain and my 5 feral cats are going nuts, jumping all over me in anticipation of being fed every time I make a move. I try to explain the situation to them, but the dumb beasts refuse to understand English.
So it’s like a comedy of errors (aside from the fact that it’s not the least bit funny to me). I have no choice but to sit there in this hapless state, in the rain, in the dark, for another half hour, until it’s finally light enough to renew my search for shoe and cat food. Which I finally find about 50 yards down the hill.
So I quickly feed my cats, pack up my campsite and stagger off towards civilization. I buy a hot cup of coffee and a bacon roll and make it to my favorite hang-out spot (under a nice, dry awning). And right on cue the sky EXPLODES with rain, and an ocean of water is pounding down on the ground. So that was a close call. It could’ve been a lot worse.
But that’s what life on the streets is like. Even when you think you have everything covered, it can take just one unexpected element thrown into the mix — in this case a missing shoe — to turn your world upside-down. And unexpected elements are constantly getting thrown at you on the streets. Like I said, it’s usually more a matter of enduring than succeeding.