Commenter Of The Day: Experience The Eldorado Via 8-Track Edition

Had you bought a Cadillac Eldorado off the lot in 1979, this recording would have awaited you in the eight-track player of your "personal luxury" car with its tufted seats and yacht-like ride. You may appreciate your own personal luxuries a little more after the story of two men living in their cars, and following the story gravit8 wanted to respond to your comments:

Dear Jalopnik

I don't know what to say. At the time I went through this there was a lot of stuff going on in my life and around me. When I look back on those 2 1/2 months it is with mixed emotions.

Many of the circumstances that landed me in some vacant lot in JAX in the middle of June were of my own making. Many were not. Still, it was a learning experience, despite the life I've led I had never anticipated being 'homeless' at any point.

I called it urban camping. I knew I had to try to keep my dignity and integrity while facing down a growing mountain of issues. When you get to this point, it is often one very minor circumstance that can derail the last remaining chances a person has at reclaiming something of the life they had. For me, it was a minor registration ticket I'd received months earlier that I'd put off, and then I was handed a steaming pile of life. For about 2 weeks, I feared that a cop would run my DL and find it was suspended for that minor ticket. The result would be more fines and likely the tow/impounding of my only remaining transportation and shelter.

I spent hours laying awake at night, listening to the cars on the nearby interstate, straining to hear the unseen monsters of the urban darkness. Stressing about finding work, any work. Stressing about $, just to get something to eat the next day, to get to my stuff. There were more than a few moments when I questioned my purpose, and my perceived punishment (what did I do to deserve this?). My well-being was under constant threat and I doubted if I was ever going to find a way out.

One of the things I forced myself to do daily was check Gawker and read. io9, gizmodo, jalopnik, kotaku - anything to keep my mind off the impending doom. Between digging through craigslist for work and my internet regimen, I stayed sane, but just barely.

If not for my family and a few close friends I might still be out on those streets (but I doubt I would have lasted much longer where I was at).

The experience has given me another opportunity to consider what life is about, and how easily all your best laid plans can collapse, teaching me that you just have to keep trying to make it work. I am fortunate in many ways to still be able to share my thoughts with fellow jalops, and if I can help just one person find a way to make it through my shared experience I am glad to do it.

I had to sell things, including my '91 mazda 323 (which I loved dearly, even at 250,000+ miles) to get by. I moved west to New Mexico with family and everything I had left fit in the back of that Explorer (it was a 2 dr sport version, btw).

If anything, it has shown me that to live, you dont need a fancy house or big-screen tv, or all the crap that people fill their garages with - I'd have had to leave it all if I'd had it. It's all nice but you quickly learn that the priorities of our society are...misplaced much of the time.

In the end it came down to my desire keep my dignity intact, even if I was sponge-bathing myself, buck-ass naked, in the middle of a deserted lot. I didnt rob, I didnt steal, I cleaned up my garbage (and others' garbage, as well) and I didn't ask anyone for anything I didn't need.

I could go on, but I wanted to thank the Jalopnitariat for everything they've done, from the comments to the stories to the incredibly insane crap car people do to amuse themselves. I wouldn't have made it without you.




Congratulations, Mr. gravit8, on today's COTD and for telling us your heartwarming story which brought me to tears. Like you said in so many words.....the best things in life aren't things.

Also, congrats on your star! Here's a Chevy pickup to haul it around with. This lovely lady will bring it to you soon. She's all heart.

Best wishes from me!