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urban camping

We were given a key at the Homes Not Jails meeting to a garage of a house for sale. They hadn't checked it out to see if anyone lived there. We took off at ten to walk the thirty blocks. I'd been back in town since the Food Not Bombs international gathering; the two others had just arrived from Portland.

After some searching we found the place, but couldn't tell if anyone lived there, so we quietly opened the garage door and went in. It held boxes of old clothes, dishes and junk. There were tools, paint and chemicals. We looked through everything, taking socks, three pairs each, tools paint and sweaters. We even found two bottles of Greek wine. When I checked the mail, I realized that it must still be being collected. Were the people still staying there? More to the point, the mail consisted of something from the NRA and a gun magazine. We got nervous and exited. Up the street we sat down and drank the wine. All of a sudden we were feeling more confidant.

We returned and decided to go up. We opened the door to the stairs and crawled up, then down the hall, expecting to find a shotgun in our faces. We opened a door and there was no furniture, then another and the same. The house was empty. We had water, electricity, a shower and even toilet paper. We just had to leave the place as we found it and get out early.

At the moment, I'm living on a roof in the mission. I have the front gate key and go in late, wake with the sun and leave. It's beautiful. I have potted plants that second as toilets, a rug, chairs, table and a sun chair that is my bed. There is even electricity and a light.

Here are two other urban camping tips. When you move out of an apartment, copy the key and find out the hours of the real estate agency. Arrive after they close, and leave before they open. Or go to an agency and leave an id to get the key and copy it when you go to see the apartment. The place is yours at night until it is rented or sold.


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