The streetlights pierce through the light drizzle in the brisk fall. A fog settles gently over the water. I have my Camelpak packed with some essentials- my laptop, a spare change of clothes, and toiletries- and a sleeping bag slung across my back as I walk along the pier, one hand on my bicycle, and the other sifting through text messages on my mobile.
I can't quite articulate the thought process, but I then held my phone over the water and dropped it, and watched as it sunk into the murky waters below. I think I had hoped to feel a sense of liberation, but was met with only disappointment.
There's a large gazebo up ahead, and it looks like a quiet place for rest. I quickly park my bike along the rails, and roll out my sleeping bag. Sleeping is difficult with anxiety, but after a few episodes of The Office, I quickly drift into a slumber.
I'm awoken by a sharp jab at my legs. The rain has ceased, but the fog remains. It always lingers. I open my eyes groggily; the sun peaks over the horizon, and I see a policeman peering down at me.
"You'll have to move; there's no sleeping allowed here." he said, giving me time to get up, and pack my bag. "That's quite a nice computer you have there." as I put my laptop into my bag. "Thanks." I said, as I slung the sleeping bag over my shoulders. I climb onto my bike, and start riding along the boardwalk. I glance over my shoulder to see the police officer continue his patrol along the pier, waking up the few other vagrants that took up shelter in the other gazebos. I reach into my pocket looking for my phone hoping to get the time, only to realize my actions the night before. I think I should have at least an hour or two before I have to go to work. I'll need to wash myself in the office bathroom before anyone gets in.
The morning bike rides are pleasant; I often ride through the city to get to the dry docks. The early risers are already out for their morning runs, and the bellhops have begun their post outside. A few of the homeless who park their carts in doorways of buildings have begun to also pack their belongings to move to the secret homeless lair, or wherever they go during the day.
One older scruffy-looking gentleman in a tattered grey beanie and an over-sized Boston Red Sox dugout jacket, looks up to me, with something akin to a frantic smile across his face as I pass by. In his cart, I notice a lot of bags- plastic bags, paper bags, and some trash bags. I begin to wonder what I'll have in my cart when I'm his age. I hope it's something more useful. But maybe perhaps, I'll do without a cart. I've always been a minimal packer.
A sense of excitement comes over me when I begin to think about what I'll find when I go visit this speculative secret homeless lair for the first time. Who will I find there? What was their illustrious careers like? Were they doctors? engineers? teachers? Maybe I'll see my old boss Valentin there. Maybe I'll be reunited with my college roommates. Will they recognize me? Will I recognize them?
I briefly chuckle at the absurdity of these thoughts. The concept of meeting everyone in your past in this anti-haven isn't actually so far-fetched. It's absurd because it's the only salient thought in this god-forsaken weather.