If your marriage fails, don’t hang out

What happens if your marriage goes sour but you can’t afford to move into a place of your own? It’s not aCar_2
question I ponder often, but two recent stories have made me think about it. Steven Graham, a 55-year-old man in Pittsburg, Kansas, has been living in his car for seven years, much to his neighbors dismay.

“Every day he’s out there, he never goes into the
house,” Kenny Waring said. “He sleeps out there, he eats out there, he watches
TV, he plays guitar… . Everything that you do in your house, he does out

Graham acknowledged that he does watch TV, listens to
music and at times sleeps in the vehicle year-round, but stopped short of saying
he lived in it.

“I’m living anywhere I’m at,” he said, pointing to the
chair he was sitting in outside the home. “I’m living right here, right

The car, a blue 1989 Buick Century, is parked on a
concrete slab in the back yard of Graham’s property. A large, blue tarp covers
about three-quarters of the vehicle, including the entire back window and
license plate. The tarp is secured with bricks and cinder blocks.

An extension cord runs from the house to the car,
providing power for a 13-inch TV that rests in the passenger seat, an
oscillating fan and a radio.

A car, a TV and a radio. What more does a man need to be happy?

Graham said he and his wife had “been having troubles”
since 1999, and that he’d been out of the house since about 2000. His wife still
lives in the residence. The Globe was unable to reach her for comment.

“She’s not going to support me not having a job and
bumming around,” he said. “I’m trying my best to get a job and get up out of
this rut.”

You’ve got to sympathize with him. It can be really hard to find a job. There’s just not enough time during commercials.

Well, perhaps he can get himself a gig on American Idol.

Earl Lee, a neighbor who lives across the street from
the Warings at 613 S. Olive St., said Graham tends to start singing early in the
morning, but it isn’t usually a problem except for on weekends.

“You can hear him through the walls, he’s very loud,”
Lee said. “I probably would’ve complained a long time ago, but he sings classic

Living in a car isn’t the best solution, but you’re at least keeping your distance from your estranged or former spouse. Some divorced couples in Russia can’t afford to live in separate homes and at least one man has paid a painful price.

A woman set fire to her ex-husband’s penis as he sat naked watching television
and drinking vodka, Moscow police said Wednesday.

Asked if the man would make a full recovery, a police spokeswoman said it was
"difficult to predict."

The attack climaxed three years of acrimonious enforced co-habitation. The
couple divorced three years ago but continued to share a small flat, something
common in Russia where property costs are very high.

Poor guy. He didn’t have a car to move into. A car parked in the backyard, where he could have watched TV, drank vodka and shown the neighbors what was hanging out.

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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