Nine months in...
And last night I had my first 'for real' late night visitor...
At about 11:30, I'd just settled down to sleep when my interior lit up from another vehicle's headlights.
The past couple of nights, I've been parking near my gym in order to avoid the extra drive in the morning. The location has meant slightly more traffic and less parked cars near by (making me a tad more conspicuous).
I popped my head up and, sure enough, an officer of the law with flashlight in hand, was just peering in my window. He had been driving by and saw the interior lights switch off with no one exiting or entering the car. He came over to investigate whether or not the vehicle was being broken into (where was he the night of July the 2nd? I know. I was wondering the same thing).
The windows were open an inch or two, so we conversed through the gap (well lit by the street lights and his flashlight) and I was able to avoid turning the car on or opening the doors which would have turned on the interior lights and illuminated just how comfortable I was in the van. He asked for my drivers' license (which states my address as just a couple of streets over) and I offered up my vehicle insurance voluntarily.
I explained that I'd locked myself out of my apartment and my roommate was not home until tomorrow; thus I was spending the one night in the van. When he posed the obvious question as to the whereabouts of my landlord, I mumbled like a moron about it being late and not wanting to bother him. Sheepishly I said, "I'm aware I'm not supposed to be sleeping on the street," and he was incredibly gracious in saying, "I'm not concerned in the least, your circumstances are clearly temporary."
The whole thing was a little jarring. It left my heart racing a little bit afterwards even though there was no threat and, as stupid as it sounds, I hated lying to him--he called me "ma'am" and everything.
I suppose I'd begun to take the whole need for stealth for granted since I've never been pest-free up to now. The whole thing was best case scenario, it would have been much worse had he shown up 10 minutes prior and caught me peeing in my trusty yogurt container. And, luckily, I don't believe he saw Quinn; who, it would seem, didn't deem the interruption important enough to rise from her slumber.
When initially researching the lifestyle, one suggestion online had been to ready oneself in an alternate locale to the one you decide to hunker down for the night at. Last night I was reading in bed for several minutes before shutting the internal lights off which is unwise (even with the windows covered) if not looking to attract attention. I will not be risking a second night visit from Officer Joe, I'll be heading back to the neighborhoods that have offered more shelter in terms of vehicles to disappear among.
Sleep tight, folks!