Whole religions and cultures and species have been built around the central idea of staying alive. As a young white female in the US, staying alive isnâ€™t too hard. My main predators are other humans, and theyâ€™re mostly focused on people who are more marginalized by me. Of course, being a stripper and living in a van make me more likely to be targeted by some.Â Iâ€™ve developed some neat-o adaptations to lower my chances of getting wacked, and now Iâ€™ll share them with you in the form of five handy tips. Some, of course, will apply to you more than others, depending on whether you are a van dweller, a stripper, a woman, or none of the above.
1. Relax. This is the most important part. If you are afraid all the time, you wonâ€™t know when to really be afraid. Youâ€™re an animal, you have good instincts, and they will tell you when itâ€™s time to be afraid. Optimally, you should be relaxed and tuned in to your environment enough to enjoy it, which is also enough to know when somethingâ€™s happening.
2. Sleep is when youâ€™re most vulnerable, so pick your sleeping spot well. There are two main philosophies here: safety in numbers, and safety in being alone in the middle of nowhere. I subscribe to both. If your in a town, look for a Wal-Mart and park in the middle of a bunch of RVs (if you know where the sun comes up, park on the shade side of a big one). If youâ€™re in a National Forest, get waaay back off the road and behind some trees where you canâ€™t be seen from the road.
3. I learned this from whores and coyotes: never tell where youâ€™re sleeping and never sleep in the same place two nights in a row, especially if people have seen you there. The exception, of course, is if youâ€™re staying in a friendâ€™s driveway or setting up camp in an isolated spot.
4. If youâ€™re leaving a strip club at closing time, wait for the parking lot to clear. An ounce of prevention, you know. Also donâ€™t go straight to where youâ€™re sleeping. Just make it a habit to drive around a little. Itâ€™s good to drive past where youâ€™re going to sleep and circle it so you know whatâ€™s around you before you go to sleep (I learned that from coyotes too).
5. Never tell a cop youâ€™re a stripper. Never tell a cop you live in a van. Itâ€™s â€œokayâ€ for them to do whatever they want to sex workers and vagrants. If a cop is harassing you, be placating and submissive. Move slowly. Cops are trained to be hyper vigilant and they can and will interpret almost anything as a threat. Match your speech patterns to theirs and theyâ€™ll be less likely to shoot or arrest you. As soon as they let you go drive straight out of their jurisdiction, even if they said they would leave you alone.