The faint muffle of a weed eater slowly zips closer. Your eyelids flutter slightly, and in between those delicate movements, a ray of sunlight sent from about 90 million miles away finds its way through your windshield and into your optic nerve. You awake to find yourself in a foreign land: a vacant lot between a gas station and a trailer park. The hangover is strong with you. Your shirt is wet. Your mouth is dry, and your keys are still in the ignition. If your car starts, this will be just another triumphant tale of badassery. If it doesn’t, be prepared for hours of misery. You grasp your keys, close your eyes, and twist. The millisecond it takes before the engine turns over feels like an eternity. It’s in this brief moment we feel completely vulnerable, subjected to fate, karma, and chaos alike, naked before the face of God.
So you’ve just slept in your car. Many have done it, but I’ve slowly turned it into an art form. I’m trying to do for car sleep what Ghandi did for passive resistance: make the world a better place and have a bald Indian play me in a movie!
Most people think of cars as just vehicles, but they function as so much more. They’ve been refereed to as “tax returns,” “metal coffins,” and “pussy magnets.” They can be expressions of a mid-life crisis or just act as an expensive cup holder. Point is, cars are what you make of them, and I know how to make them into beds. Tons of questions are probably bouncing through your mind right now, for instance, “I never sleep in my car, but I am already three paragraphs into this nonsense reading the ramblings of a madman.” Well congratulations. I may have just changed your life. You’re welcome.
Why sleep in a car?: Well, lots of reasons. Driving is a lot like writing advice articles on the internet It’s more fun if you’re drunk, but that doesn’t mean you should be. Drinking and driving has killed hundreds of people in the last decade, probably more. We just don’t have the numbers. You don’t want to go around killing people with a car. That’s so 90’s. Guns are what’s hip these days. You kill somebody with a car and people will call you a “fucking liberal” because you should have had the balls to use a rifle, like a real American.
Imagine you are wasted and leaving the bar. You now have three options: Risk a DWI, call a taxi, or sleep in your car. The first two cost money, and if you’re like me, you’re leaving the bar because you’re out of money! So you really only have once choice, Buickbed. Some people here might say, “use a designated driver.” Designated drivers are like and sexy models who eat chicken wings and hang out with fat guys: they only exist in beer commercials. If you want to drink until you’re broke, learn to sleep in your car. If you want a designated driver, get your girlfriend pregnant.
Another reason to sleep in your car is because you’re sleepy and you can’t go home. You could be at work, but having a job doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t take a well needed nap while on the clock. Jobs come and go, but once you miss out on sleep, your body accumulates free radicals, and free radicals cause cancer. Look it up. Entire hospital wings have been paid for by people too afraid to sleep in their cars. Did you know the Hindus consider sleep to be pure bliss? So if you convert to Hinduism, you can sleep during work under the freedom of religion act in the constitution, and your boss can’t do shit about it. Just a reminder, Gandhi was a Hindu, and sleeping is a pretty cool way to passively resist. See, it all ties in. (FYI: I passively resisted the shit out of English in high school)
Also, one of the most common reasons to sleep in your car is because you’re on a long road trip. Nobody wants to fork over fifty bucks to get a bad night’s sleep in a shitty hotel. You’re better off pulling off the road, reclining that seat, opening the sunroof, and saving money. That’s what ancient explorers did. Magellan couldn’t just duck into a Ramada Inn and catch scabies from a piss-stained comforter. He had to catch it the old fashioned way, by passing out on top a giant pile of rope and hoping it wouldn’t rain. Hell, if the conditions are nice, you can even sleep on top your car. (I learned this by working with Mexican day laborers).
How to sleep in your car: Cars have gotten a bad rap as places to sleep, but if you make a few minor adjustments, you can turn your Toyota into a mattress. Here are some pointers:
Park on an incline. Seats don’t recline all the way back; therefore, if you are already reclined, thanks to parking on a hill or pulling your front two tires onto a curb, you’ll be almost laying flat when you adjust your seat all the way back.
Block out the sun. You don’t want the sun to wake you up the next morning. That’s not natural. It’s important to just wake up on your own. Finding a dark, quiet parking garage around a business district is what you should shoot for. If it’s not possible, try the west side of a tall building or under a bridge. If all that fails, just make sure to sleep in sunglasses. You’ll look cool and keep those free radicals away.
Avoid the Noise. Finding an empty lot or garage can be difficult. Even rest stops can be loud places at night, thanks to the truckers, prostitutes, and gay Republicans. Pro-tip: Park next to an electrical substation and let the white noise rock you into oblivion.
Get comfortable. Let’s say you don’t have a pillow and you’re hot. Take off your shirt and use it as a pillow. Problem solved. If you’re cold, I recommend always keeping an emergency blanket somewhere in your car. If you like to sleep on your back, you just recline all the way in the front seat. If you’re a side sleeper, curl up like a fetus in the backseat and brace yourself for whatever dreams may come. If you’re a human giant, you can either buy a van or lose your legs in a war.
Troubleshooting: Let’s say you’ve found the best location available. The temperature is perfect. You are comfortable and have everything you need, but there are a few pressing things keeping you awake.
You have to piss and/or shit. It’s always a good idea to be pretty close to a 24hr restaurant like a Waffle House. If you can’t find one, most schools have an outside bathroom that is unlocked, usually around the athletic complex or the modular buildings where they house the mentally challenged kids.
You can’t get past the fact that you are sleeping in a car. This is where your imagination comes into play. I like to think that I’m not sleeping in a car at all. It’s really a spaceship and I’m an intergalactic space-traveling alien. That thought alone puts me at ease. I power down all systems and close my eyes as I gently orbit the earth, safe and snug.
Maybe you’re one of those guys who can’t sleep unless you jerk off. Thanks to porn scientists, it’s never been easier. Just stream some x-rated videos via smartphone and shoot your seed into an empty Taco Bell bag. Be sure not to do this too close to a school. It’s weird.
The future of car sleeping: I think car sleepers are under-represented in today’s society. I don’t need to see some guy in the desert driving around orange cones. I want a car commercial that shows a weary, drunken drifter snoring in a Camry under a bridge. I don’t care how many horses they melted down and stuff inside my engine. How comfortable is the back seat? How many cubic feet of legroom to I get? These are the things I care about. Even the movie Transformers missed a golden opportunity. Imagine if there was an Autobot named Napatron and instead of fighting he would say in a robot voice, “Fuck this shit” and transform into a queen-size bed and take a nap. Now that’s passive fucking resistance.