Monday, November 9, 2009

My First Peeping Tom

I was sitting cross-legged on my van floor reading a book in a pair of sky blue boxer briefs that had rolled up to my upper thighs.

I had just finished cooking a pot of spaghetti stew that was cooling atop my storage container.

That’s when I saw his silhouette trying to peer through my tinted windows and shades. He looked like an alien. I could see spaces between his gangly fingers before he cupped them together and pressed them against the glass. His head was long and oval. He moved from window to window, peering in each one.

Did he wish to be—like some dragon-slaying knight—the first to confront the infamous vandweller in his lair? Or did he just appreciate a good set of tinted windows?

Whether he spotted me or not, things, for my peeper, must have looked awfully strange. My laundry area by the front passenger seat was open to view, my windshield (on this balmy afternoon) had fogged up from the steam of my meal, and I don’t doubt that odors of broccoli and onion were leaking out of the windows I left ajar in great profusion.

Or maybe his interest was piqued by my thighs that—not having seen sunshine in years—might have had a phosphorescent glow that lit up the van like a candle in a jack-o-lantern.

If he could have seen me—sitting as still as a stone—he probably would have thought I was a Buddhist monk deep in meditation. But I was far from a state of Zen. My heart raced and sweat beaded on my forehead.

I felt vulnerable. For fear of being heard, I couldn’t move or cover myself up. I realized I left my doors unlocked. What would I do if he opened them? Should I slam my cooking knife into him or invite him in for a bowl of stew?

In all my days in the van—in a town renowned for bums and high crime rates—not once has anyone tried to break in.

I really would be a car-burglar’s worst nightmare. I doubt—upon breaking into a van—that the typical burglar has ever had a half-naked male with a chest as white as death thrash out from under covers with the fury of a mongoose defending his hole.

But this was no burglar. I'd be curious, too, if I saw what he saw.

I’m not sure whether he spotted me or not. Between my tinted windows, shades, and the black cloth I hang behind my two front seats, I have adequate privacy. But, if someone really wanted to see inside, they probably could.

As you can see, the shades leave a slight gap, and my sheet doesn’t entirely span from wall to wall. I’m usually in the van only at night, so this has never bothered me.

He walked away and got in his car. I lifted up my shade ever so slightly and while I didn’t catch a glimpse of him, I was relieved to see that he wasn’t campus security.

I had no say in the parking lot that was assigned to me. I worried that they might place me somewhere in the middle of campus where lots of people would be coming and going, which would make my secret a lot harder to keep. Instead, they put me on the outermost fringe of campus, where no person—as far as I know—has ever seen me enter or leave the van.

My parking lot is almost always empty but if someone is around I simply keep walking past the van or I’ll read under a nearby tree. In the mornings, when I get out and walk to class, I look out all the windows to make sure no one’s out there.


Josh said...

Have mom ship the Claymore

Ken said...

ha... "Cleaving off an arm" would be a provocative post title.

Kevin M said...

I guess you're not trying to hide what school you're attending any longer? Or did I miss that announcement?

Anonymous said...

I am filled with so many questions. Will you save enough money to get out of school debt free? Do you pay for parking? Do you play board games in your van? I once lived in a conversion van, where I became a big fan of Cribbage. Finally, what is spaghetti soup? Is it like spaghetti ohs or just really sauce noodles?

Wishing you all the best, (I will read your blog, I'm sure, regularly) your coldfood aquaintence of less than a week,


Ken said...

Kevin M--did I accidently divulge?

Elisha-- I remember you!

Answers to your questions:

1. Yes, I will graduate debt-free. Between radical living, my part-time job, reasonable tuition costs, and my well-paying summer park service job, I can afford school.

2. Yes I pay for parking. It's about $200 a year, which is ridiculous, but it gives me access to all parking lots (at night) and one parking lot year-round.

3. Board games-no. I'm a bit of a loner--it's rare that I have anyone over. If I do become social, I'll check out cribbage.

4. Spaghetti stew is pretty much the same thing as regular spaghetti but very liquidy--like a soup. It's a lot easier this way because I'd otherwise have to make the sauce separately which would use up another pan and create more mess. It tastes just as good, arguably better, anyways.

Kevin M said...

Ken - it's pretty obvious on one of the pictures if you do a little Googling.

Ken said...

Kevin-- Good point. I did think about it but at the same time I didn't think anyone would care enough to figure it out. Regardless, the picture has been changed. Appreciate the heads-up.

twokniveskatie said...

i am jealous of your window blinds. i use reflectix, with sarongs as my curtains. i love multi-purpose, anyhow. great post!

Seth Miller said...

I'm disappointed I missed out on the picture that gave away the school. I've been trying to figure it out from all the clues and feel like I have it narrowed down to two, so I will keep looking for more hints.

Ken said...

Narrowed down to two!? Yikes--I didn't think I gave away so many clues. Feel free to email me your guesses. I'll tell you if you're close:

Dolly Iris said...

We never had somebody to try to break in but we did have an act of vandalism while sleeping once. It was horrible.
I remember trying to park and sleep in cities were the worst. we would both peer out our own side until both were clear and then hussle outside. At night we would wait again until nobody was around. Sometimes having to walk past our cruiser to not draw attention.