Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Be Our Guest

My husband and I live in a one bedroom condo in downtown Denver with a single parking space. Our second car, a 1992 Subaru, sits in the street.

This car looks like it has been through Armageddon. It's 18 years old, has chipped gold paint, massive dents, ripped upholstery, and rust damage. The car has no hubcaps, locks, or seat belts. My husband walks to work and I drive the first car, so we hardly ever use it- only on the occasional weekend. We named the car 'Piggy' because it's in such bad shape and is trashed. But we keep her because she's been paid off for more then a decade and really, has become a member of the family.

"I think a vagabond is living in Piggy," my husband announced one day after coming home from work and slamming the front door behind him.
"Come again?" I was sitting on the couch, perusing US Weekly (Spencer and Heidi divorced!) and drinking a glass (bottle) of white wine.
"I found some empty bottles of Jack Daniel's in the front seat of the car," he replied.
"Those are mine."
My husband adjusted his glasses and continued. "I also found an old sleeping bag, some men's shirts, and a pair of shoes."
"Oh wow," I said, intrigued. "A homeless person moved into our car?!? We're landlords!"

My mind raced as I thought of all the possibilities. Like, could we charge rent? Is our new tenant going to put a bag of ice in the glove compartment and call it a refrigerator? If we had to use the car, could he sit in the backseat and wrap his arms around the driver, thus saving us the expense of having to replace the seat belts?

"A vagabond is living in my car!" I excitedly announced the next day at work. I loved saying the word 'vagabond'. It was 100 times more sophisticated than 'homeless person', 'hobo', or 'crack head'.
"Oh..." my coworker Stephanie, cooed in awe. "Are you going to call the police?"
Of course I wasn't going to call the police. First of all, Piggy doesn't even have locks on her, so it's not really 'breaking and entering'. And secondly, having a hobo live in my car is.....fucking awesome. I would be the talk of the town for weeks!

I left bottled water and sandwiches in Piggy for my tenant, eager to make his stay more comfortable. We made sure to never drive or move the car, as we would be taking his personal belongings with us. I just kept hoping I would run into him, but never did- we just found traces of his existence. A few paperback novels would show up in the backseat, a pile of peanuts would appear on the dashboard, and at one point our car battery died when he left the lights on in the car.
"I had to jump Piggy because our vagabond left the dome light on," my husband grumbled one day.
"He is so absentminded, our vagabond," I said, fondly. "I hope he enjoys that organic raspberry cheesecake I left in the trunk for him."

Eventually, to my dismay, our vagabond moved out. I was horrified when I stopped by his place, opened the car door, and found his clothes and shoes gone.
"He moved out!" I sobbed to my husband that evening.
"What! Our front seats fully recline!" My husband shouted indignantly. "Did he find a fancier vehicle to squat in?"
"Our neighbors have a 2002 Outback," I pointed out. "Maybe he moved into theirs."
"I really didn't take him for a snob," my husband said, insulated.

I really do miss our tenant, and would love to invite him over to our car for some coffee sometime. I just wish I could find the license plate he lives at. Sigh.


  1. Good for you. I'm glad you saw the humanity in the situation. The irony is that he "moved out" without giving you 30-day notice

  2. Now I wish I had a car!

    I'm thinking the least he could have done is left a thank you note or some sort of good bye/see ya later for you. Common decency. It's hard to come by nowadays.

  3. bwwhhhaaahhaaa! now that is what i call being hospitable!
    good thing piggy had someone to keep her warm at night (for a little while at least)
    maybe it was the organic cheese cake? did it scare him off? maybe he only likes to live in vehicles when he knows that nobody else knows...otherwise he feels all exposed and stuff?
    at least he has good taste...jack daniels and peanuts and novel? that's pretty awesome!

  4. Wow.

    That's a slap in the face.

    Good riddance, I say.

  5. as long as he didn't pee in the cup-holder...

  6. Yeah.... about that.......

    Thanks for the place to stay?

    Also, you really need to get the oil changed.

  7. I'll be in Denver in November...maybe I'll skip getting a hotel room and just squat in your car for the weekend.

  8. I've nominated you for an award because you are sofa king funny. Denver is lucky to have you in it's ranks!

  9. Did he at least leave an odor behind that all the febreeze in the world cannot remove??

  10. I really liked this. I like the laid back attitude. I'd like to see that car.

  11. You should really post pictures of the car.

  12. Did he leave behind some gross disease or, at the very least, fleas? If he didn't even leave fleas, he wasn't a proper vagabond and you're much better off without a faux-vagabond napping in your car.

  13. If I told you I was living in piggy, would you judge me?

    I cuddled with Jack Daniels every night.

    Much of my blog is written under the influence of Jack Daniels. It's kind of about the end of the world. Or mayonnaise. Whichever comes first.

    Here's the link:


  14. Check my blog out. You've won something.

  15. I'm here from MLS ... congrats!

    Cute story :-). I do wonder where the vagabond went--maybe in search of a vehicle with double-glazed baby-back barbeque ribs in the trunk?

  16. Do you have time shares available? If I promise to listen to your Piggy Time Share pitch, do you think I could get a free weekend to try experience the magic before making a decision?

  17. cute post. I'm going vagabonding soon'ish, could i surf in your piggy?

  18. Well, at least Vagabond didn't crap in your car. Or try to steal it. Now THERE'S a lovely Denver memory of mine. Oh, good times, how I will miss thee.

  19. seriously hilarious! the closest i ever came to having my own vagabond was in college when i would drive my '91 Buick Regal that had a broken driver's side door and a broken passenger's side door LOCK so i could never actually lock the car when i left it in the abandoned dirt lot i would have to park in bc i was too cheap to pay for a garage. on top of that bc the drivers door was busted i still had to crawl over the bench seat and shimmy out the passengers side everytime i needed to exit. anyway, i came back from class one day to find my car smelling suspiciously like piss. bum piss to be exact. i never got the proof but im pretty sure a hobo either used my car as a toilet or a urine-soaked bum took a nap in my car and rolled all over the upholstery. either way, i felt kind of violated yet strangely elated like i had somehow been "chosen" for this.
    your story is way better than mine.
    *le sigh*