When he awoke he was stiff from lying in the back seat the whole night. Light was just beginning to creep into the van in the predawn hours of what was promised to be a good weather day. He hadn’t slept especially well or without interruption. Age, physical infirmities, and unfortunate circumstances assured him that such awakenings were to be the daily rule from now to an unknown time.
He was cold, but that could not be remedied for a while yet. Other things must be first attended before such considerations as fundamental comfort could be addressed. He grasped the back of the bench seat over his head and hauled his complaining body into a sitting position. Noises, voluntary and involuntary, were made in the process. He swung his feet to the floor and thus sat for several minutes trying to wake up but really not wanting too.
“I wish I could just lie down and sleep forever,” he thought and then quickly shook the thought away. “Self pity gets you nowhere, dude.” He rotated his ass on the seat and planted his feet in the door-well of the sliding back door. Opening the door, he stood in the well in his stocking feet, raised the leg of his boxers, and taking the matter in hand relieved himself onto the grass in the deep gray predawn light.
Finished he stumbled into the cargo area in the back and retrieved clean jeans and a shirt from the half-full plastic bin that held all the clothes that he owned. He lay back down on the seat of his sleeping, shimmied into the trousers and lurched, with bowed back, into the cab of the van and plopped into the driver’s seat. After fishing the keys from the jumble of useful crap that lay between the seats, he turned the motor on and set the heat to remove the early morning chill. National Public Radio sprang from the radio. The constant liberal harping was getting very tiresome, but acceptable musical choices were rare, commercials were aggravating in the extreme, and at least the news was palatable if one sifted out the bias.
He put on his shoes and stumbled out the door, reached back inside and got his shirt and put it on. Groundhogs were his bane and fortunately he saw none in the wide grass lot that stretched from the front of his van to the highway 100 yards distant. He counted his fortunes to be at least one that a previous employer and one-time foe had granted him permission to park here since he had no other place to go.
Some people can be counted on all the way up to the number one. Past that he didn’t expect anything more from his current benefactor either in a personal way or toward goodness in the world at large. But why bitch about the weather turning bad when the sun is shining? It is enough and proper to bless the present bounties.
He planted his bad leg in the driver’s door well and yanked himself back into his perch. Back into the jumble, he retrieved the diabetes testing kit buried there. The results were very acceptable, but hunger gnawed at him as it always did. Money was tight to the point of near non-existence but he scraped up enough in nickles and dimes for a breakfast sandwich at Burger King. It would be a week before his disability check came in, and after today, subsistence would need come from the largesse of Soup Kitchens.
“So be it. Let’s go.” He strapped himself in, put the beast in gear and commenced his daily travels.