This should have been posted early this morning but for some reason the computer was not allowing a simple copy and paste operation, so instead a temporary rant was invented, cursing the fallibility of computers and how we as humans must be total dunces if we have to depend on temperamental machines with minds of their own, and how the argument for artificial intelligence was virtually rock-solid, seen as though they were constantly screwing us. But that angry onslaught could not even be posted! The PC would not allow it. Anyway, at a different terminal now, and Back on track....
So you may have slept rough before, and have the art of keeping warm and dry down to a fine art. Respect. For those who have no previous experience in this unfortunate field of expertise, here are some simple tricks from old timers who have been there and bought the mug.
First off, man-up to the challenge. If the inevitable is going to happen, like, say, for instance, there is no room at the night shelter, and there is simply no other option apart from sleeping rough, besides getting yourself locked up in a police cell for the night, which is not recommended, then make sure you do it hanging tough. Apply yourself.
Warmth can be found in many a slim alleyway, crevice, alcove, etc. Anywhere out of the elements will do. Under stairs, behind walls, in bushes, at bus stops, railway stations, anywhere. Just be careful about trespassing on private property, and obviously don’t endanger your safety, because after all, even a night in the wind and rain isn’t nearly as bad as getting hit by a train.
One gent in particular I once knew by the name of Douglas the Geezer would often sleep in a bin. Although bins in the right places can often provide food, besides unbeatable shelter and warmth, given you are not claustrophobic, they can also be a serious hazard. The gentleman in question was fond of his bin because it was lined with cardboard and comfortable, but one morning he awoke to find himself not only locked in, but swinging in the air. There are true accounts of people being crushed in this manner so be very, very careful, if you decide to opt for this. Make sure it is absolutely isolated and has no possibility of being attended to in the morning.
Trust and believe, there are some excellent little cozy places to be found if you apply yourself to the task at hand, apart from that extreme choice. The rears of buildings are good for cracks and crannies.
Keep mobile, in the unlikely event that you cannot find anywhere. Walk somewhere and back again. Do star jumps, press ups or whatever. It is just a battle of wits against the time. Once daylight arrives in the morning, you’ll begin to feel better, and can start again. Everyone fears the night in some way, but it helps to be clever about it, and decisive.
Don’t loiter in populated areas. Thinking you are safe in a busy town centre might be your undoing, if drunken thugs decide to pick a fight. Plus, you may well be attacked and mugged when you are asleep, so think on before you pick a spot. Is anyone likely to pass by that route? Are you in view of any security cameras? Be wary of vermin, too. Somewhere off the ground usually takes care of that.
If you are lucky you may find some source of heat, like generators or a boiler room somewhere on an industrial building. Otherwise, churches may provide a nice inlet, and tend to be out the way. Communal hallways in apartment blocks are another option.
In the morning you can get some tea and toast, and work on getting some extra layers of clothes. Then take it from there. If you really keep at it you will be re-housed eventually.
By Andrew, Billy & Joe.