Had my first slightly unsettling experience in my car on Friday night. I had been out climbing until midnight then went out for some food afterward. I decided to drive back to Tampa that night since I had to open the next morning. I was EXHAUSTED. I wanted to sleep closer to work than Channelside so I wouldn’t have to worry too much about getting up and getting to work. I was driving down Spruce street and saw quite a few cars parked street side on a road that was off to the right. I pulled off Spruce, went around the corner, and pulled into a spot that a car had just left. I was nearly finished putting up all the drapes on my windows when a car pulled up, stopped, and left their headlights shining right into my windshield moments before I finished putting up the sheet between the front and back seats. I froze. I had my arm and shoulder still out the front of the sheet, my arm propped on the center console of the front seats, and my head already behind the sheet. I sat there for about 4 full minutes stock still. I wasn’t totally terrified, I was surrounded by a ton or two of steel, what I was was curious. What exactly are you doing parked right there with your headlights beaming into my car? Then I realized I hadn’t yet locked my doors. At that time I shimmied into my front seat, locked the doors, started the car, and decided to just leave and find a new place to park. As I was pulling past the other car I saw that it was empty and someone had just parked it and forgotten to shut off their headlights. Talk about perceived dangers.

I ended up parking in a hotel parking lot right across the street from the mall that night. It wasn’t the best sleep because I was so concerned about the legality of me parking there. Once I had been restlessly sleeping for about 3 hours and no one knocked on my door and told me I couldn’t park there I was able to sleep much easier the rest of the night.

I thought I started work at 9:30 the next morning. Nope. 8:35am I get a phone call that woke me up. “Are you opening with me?” “Yeah…. 9:30 right” “My schedule says 8:30” “shit.” And this is of course the one co-worker who was most concerned about my safety in my car and whom I reassured that my check in system would be whether or not I show up to work. Talk about me feeling like an ass. The beauty of living in my car in that moment was that 7 minutes from the time she called me I was at the front door of the store, dressed in festive Gasparilla run attire and all.


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