Guests in the van

You read that right. This weekend, I had company.

But first, a little catching up. The gym was closed part of last week, so I’ve been using the beach’s public hose/outdoor shower head. I need to reiterate (if indeed I ever iterated it in the first place) how great it is to wake up, open a door, and stumble across the dunes – the sand is so soft on the south end, like powder, I’d love to know why that is – and into the ocean. Fresh from the illogical plots and impossible scenes in my dreams, and from having spent the night in a small, dark box, the sand-and-ocean landscape feels surreal and immense. It’s almost like stepping from one dream into another. If the water isn’t chilly enough to shock me awake from it, getting into the water amplifies the aura. This morning, the surf was as cold as it’s been so far, but as flat as I’ve ever seen it, and the beach as lonely. It was like wading into a pond that just happens to never end. I think starting your day feeling like an infinitely small speck in an enormous, hypnotic chaos is, if nothing else, worth trying once or twice.

It certainly makes shaving seem more peaceful.

Mike shaves outside at a public beach

No sink? I'll just shave with the hose.

So, on to the excitement. I had sleepovers!

It’s funny. When I first decided to do this, people, who thought they were just the cleverest of people, kept asking “What will happen when you want to bring a girl home?” First off, faux-clever people, what do you take me for, some kind of wild free-love hippy, with harems of free-spirited nymphs constantly threatening to knock down my door? …Well, actually, I could see why you’d make that mistake. But I’m not a sew-my-wild-oats kinda guy, at least not compared to most guys in my generation. So this issue didn’t really concern me. I just figured that if I ever did find a girl I fancied enough to have a romp with, we’d go to her place, or she’d be like enough to me to recognize how awesome my van experiment is, and be at least willing to give it a try. Or, best-case scenario, she’d be like enough to me that when I said “So listen, here’s the thing: I live in a van,” she’d respond, “well then, your van or mine?”. Eh, scratch that, too eerie.

Anyway, it turns out, I was right. This weekend saw three guests in my van. Each guest got a little bigger taste of what it’s like to live life like me, and what it would be like to live life with me.

The first was early this week. A friend and I had a drink downtown. When I drove her back to her car, she asked if perhaps she could take a quick nap to make sure she was sober enough to drive. I, being a southern gentleman (coughhacksureyouare), agree’d, of course, and insisted she use the bed. The nap was short and the guestship surface-level, but the point is this: for the first time, someone other than myself slept in my van.

The second guest was an old, old buddy of mine named John, who lives in Raleigh (about 2 hours away). I got a call from him while still at work Friday afternoon- he had no plans, and thought maybe I was good for some. Well, he was right- that night promised to be a beer-soaked night on the town to celebrate a coworker’s birthday. I told him as much, in work-friendly code, and he said he might come out.

“But sir,” I reminded him, “I live in a van.”

“No problem, I’ll just lean the front seat back and crash there.”

Long story short, he did come out, and he did crash in the van, though I opted to take the front seat (wasn’t so bad). That night had a lot of memorable scenes (the night’s promise was fulfilled), but for me, the most stand-out of them all was John and I, lounging in the area of the van in front of the bed but behind the front seats,┬áparallel┬áparked directly in the middle of downtown’s club scene, having a beer and catching up. Another reason living in a van is awesome: starting off the night with a drink and friendly conversation in the privacy of your own home, then opening your front door and walking right into the party.

Finally, the third, most anticipated guest showed up Saturday afternoon. She is an ex and an old friend of mine, and though we talk on the phone more than rarely, this was our first time hanging out since I graduated College at the start of summer. I met her in a parking lot.

We spent the rest of the weekend together, hanging out at the beach, downtown, and in coffee shops watching Wilfred on Hulu. We slept in the van Saturday night, and then, for both of our sakes, split a hotel Sunday night.

The clever people asked me, “Mike, what will you do when you want to take a girl home?” Why go home? The beach is beautiful in the moonlight.


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