Published on February 5th, 2013 | by Robert Franklin0
Inhibitions (part two) By Andrew Morales
Part two of an ongoing series by traveler Andrew Morales as told by him for us to share on 1121.
Inhibitions: Part 2
Being spontaneous comes at a price.
Remembering the overpasses I saw on the bus, I retracted my steps and made my way back to Queens. Prior to actually visiting New York City, I always imagined the place to be filled with homeless people but this was not the case. I did see some homeless earlier that night sleeping in doorways and around the parks but it was so few that it can not compare to the homeless of Santa Monica, California. It had crossed my mind about sleeping with the other vagrants but ultimately I decided to find a place where I could be alone. For my first time out on the street I preferred some security and privacy.
It didn’t take me long to find a decent looking overpass located in a more industrial area of Queens. The spot was next to an auto-body repair shop that seemed to be isolated. If there was foot traffic there, it appeared to be almost non-existent. From the sidewalk, a short fence separated a small patch of land that housed concrete pillars holding up the pass. Unlike what is depicted in entertainment, the concrete walls were clean of graffiti.
Without much effort I hopped over the fence and set up the site for my sleeping arrangements. I positioned my sleeping bag as far from the sidewalk as I could. Good fortune was with me as I had some shrubby to conceal my whereabouts. To hide even better, I used the tarp in my backpack to cover me while I slept. There was no use for my tent because I didn’t want anyone to know I was there.
It didn’t take me long before I went to sleep. What also helped me sleep that night was the fact I spent the day walking 30 miles, my legs were tired. Sleeping on the hard ground is easy for me to do as throughout most of college, I slept on the floor. The temperature that night was fairly cool but it’s also very humid which took some time for me to adjust. Being from Arizona, I’m used to dry heat and dry cold but feeling lightly wet was annoying.
It wasn’t too long into the night that I was awakened by sounds of light scratches on canvas. When I woke, my eyes had to adjust to an obese raccoon trying to pry open my backpack. Inside my bag I had some granola bars and candy which my masked friend wanted to eat. I should have been scared but I know nothing about raccoons and going on the furry guy’s looks; he seemed friendly. I shuffled my tarp loudly and hissed at the raccoon to leave. It didn’t take much for the fat animal to scamper off.
I went back to sleep and soon enough I heard the scratches again at my bag. This time there was more raccoons trying to rob me of my snacks. I shook my tarp as before and shooed the raccoons from my bag. The raccoons attacked my bag a few more times that night to which did not offer me any peace.
One thing I did take away from this experience is that city raccoons are well feed. Like I said before, I know nothing about raccoons but to me, these guys were huge like large watermelons. I was more worried about being attacked by my fellow humans that I never realized that I had to watch out for animals in the city. Who knew.
I woke up very early that morning and headed off to Harlem for breakfast.
I have been told numerously that I was crazy to be doing such nonsense but my decision to sleep under the overpass was a good thing in hindsight. It made me lose my inhibitions, which for an adventurer is crucial. No longer did I feel shy about talking to people and doing things out of my element. I did something so out of character that whatever traits that define me as a person before were now gone
It made me feel like I could do anything. I was free.
(to be continued)