I can get cold in 75 degree weather. If there is a slight breeze and the sun momentarily slips behind the clouds, I am cold. In the winter, I can have the thermostat set at 72 degrees and still wear a coat and snowpants to bed under a pile of blankets. Not kidding. Being cold is the worst sort of discomfort and sensation for me besides its doubly evil brother cold and wet. I detest, loathe, dread, and get cranky as hell when I am cold. So, when I say it is a monumental feat to have successfully and comfortably slept in my car with the outside temperature at 8 degrees, it truly is monumental. Ask anyone who truly knows me.
I could have slept at a friend's. They have made it known that if it gets too cold to come to their house to sleep. I had to get some mail at their place and I also knew the night was going to be the coldest yet. I knew I would be tempted to take them up on their offer once I got there, but I wanted to see what I could handle, I purposely left a lot of my stuff at the climbing gym so I would have to go back and get it. Since my friend's house was a half hour away, I knew I would not drive all the way back once I left. I wanted the challenge. I wanted to know my limits. Would I be okay when it got really cold?
At 10:30, I boiled water for my Nalgene water bottle to use as my snuggle buddy for the night, got into my 13 pound, double flannel-lined canvas shell sleeping bag with a fuzzy blankie liner, pulled the double-folded wool blanket on top of if, draped a fuzzy blankie over my head and hunkered down for the challenge. And I was comfortable and warm all night except when I needed to get up and go to the bathroom in my pink thermos. While I was up, I took the container of green beans I had set on the dashboard and shook them. They made that scratchy scrapey sound green beans make when they are frozen. I was like, "Wow. It is mother fuckin' cold out." And then I crawled back into my sleeping bag and went happily back to sleep.
My family and friends think I am insane. Not because I live out of my car ( it's a climber thing), but because I am sleeping in my car during the winter. Me, the icicle. I also think at times that I am insane, but it is all a part of the trade off I mentioned in The Pink Thermos Post. But this particular night meant more and I wasn't sure what "that more" was when I went to sleep. But when I woke up and found out I successfully made it through an 8 degree night, it hit me. I am free. I don't have to go back to the stress, hopelessness, and anxiety I was experiencing before living in my car. Until I am ready. Until I have something else in motion that I want for myself. For a couple of years, I was in a really awful space and I wasn't sure how I was going to get out of it. Living in my car has allowed me to reset, recharge, and regain perspective. And I am so much happier than I have been in a long time. I like being happy and electric and curious again and I can continue this path as long as I need to until I am ready to live differently. But for now, it is a beautiful thing.