Article / HelpInLA / Tucker May

HelpInLA – Day 17

Now that we’re more than halfway through the month of March, I find that I’ve fallen into a (somewhat) comfortable routine.

I thought I would lay out how a typical living-out-of-your-car weekday would go, for anyone who is curious:

5:00 AM

This is generally when I’ve been waking up. If that seems crazy early to you, keep in mind these two things:

1. I’ve always been a morning person.
2. It’s super hard to sleep in in a car

5:30 AM

After a quick breakfast of cereal (using milk from a cooler in my trunk), I’m usually at the gym by 5:30.

Don’t let this make you think I’m some master of self-control — it’s the only place I have to shower.

I’d recommend this as a motivational tool if you’re having trouble getting yourself to the gym. Only let yourself shower there! The choice is easy when you know you’ll be stinky for the whole day if you don’t go.

7:00 AM

I try to get into work by 7:00 each morning. Again, I know this can be confounding to anyone who isn’t a morning person.

12:00 PM

Since it’s difficult to store any sort of food to bring in for lunch at work, I’ve taken to walking across the street to the discount grocery store for around noon each day to get stuff for lunch and dinner.

Surprisingly, this has led to me eating much more healthy than I usually do. It’s much easier to buy fruits and veggies when I know I’ll be eating them in the next few hours. Ordinarily, I’ll buy them and my good intentions evaporate the moment they hit my cabinet at home. By the time I’ve finished the frozen crap I buy, the healthy stuff is shriveled.

Lack of access to a microwave has done a lot to improve my eating habits.

3:00 PM

After work, I’ll find some coffee shop or cafe where I can sit and charge up my electronics. I’ll spend a couple hours answering emails, working on various projects, or generally using the miracle of the internet in highly productive ways:

Side note: I think I might be pushing the world record for Most Time Spent in Starbucks Without Spending a Dime on Starbucks.

They don’t make you buy anything! Maybe that’s why they’re starting to less and less resemble coffee shops and more and more resemble bus stations.

5:00 or 6:00 PM

This might be my favorite time of day – when it’s finally cool enough to return to my car (my air conditioning recently went out).

This is when I sit quietly in my backseat and read or write. More often than not, this devolves into people-watching as locals of whatever area of LA stomp by yelling on cell phones or walking dogs or getting roadside boob jobs.

I’ve also taken to daily walks. This project has prompted a major return to the simple things for me. Light breezes and sunsets haven’t seemed as beautiful to me since I was a young boy in rural Missouri. This is one of the perspective-shifting lessons that I can hopefully keep with me well beyond March 31.

8:00 or 9:00 PM

I like to spend this time with friends if at all possible.

I’ve been far too guilty in my regular life of plopping my lazy self in my recliner after work and staying parked. Since it’s pretty uncomfortable to spend long amounts of time in my car, I’ve seen the time I spend visiting others fly through the roof.

This is also when I start scoping out dynamite sleeping spots. The ideal place to park overnight meets the following criteria:

– Poorly lit (at least not directly under a streetlight)
– Low foot traffic
– In a residential area
– Slightly uphill (if the car is facing uphill, it makes it more comfortable to sink into the crack where the cushions meet in the back seat)
– Preferably next to a fence or trees

10:30 or 11:00 PM

Bedtime! I retire pretty early, but it’s necessary when you can’t really sleep in because nothing below your knees receives proper circulation at night.

I imagine that anyone watching me shake life back into my sleeping legs and wince through the needles would be thoroughly entertained.

The next morning, I start the whole thing over again.

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