Two weeks ago, trespassers crept into my home, took pictures of my most intimate space and documented it on Reddit for the UBC community’s amusement. But you probably didn’t hear about it from any formal news outlet. I get it, B&Es just aren’t as high priority when your place gets mistaken for a bomb shelter.
My name is Sophia and I live in the abandoned shelter on Wreck Beach.
These past few weeks have been some of the hardest of my life, but I’m ready to break my silence. As I work on my own healing, I want to direct this statement to the people who trespassed on my home directly.
First off, I want to share with you a little about myself and maybe challenge some misconceptions about us bunker folk. You and I are not so different. I’m a graduate student on this campus and, like you, I’m on a budget — however, my stipend barely covers my daily coffee expenses and the money I need to buy good quality tissues to dry the tears I shed when my experiments fail. I cannot afford high luxuries like electricity and insulated walls.
I was there that day that you trespassed on my home, my sacred space. At first, I thought it was one of my many muroid friends (my beautiful rodent brethren). But no, it was you.
I could have welcomed you into my home but I panicked. As you entered with reckless abandon, I had just returned from a long day in the lab and wanted nothing more than to sit down in my favourite dust-covered corner and brood over the comments left on my latest manuscript (damn you, reviewer number three. Just, damn you). I had just finished contemplating whether the drivel left by reviewer number two was a flirtation or a brutal condemnation of my future aspirations, when you barreled inside.
You were so mystified that you didn’t notice me crouched in the shadows among the chilopods (that’s science for centipedes, dear trespasser — I assumed you wouldn’t be familiar with the word of lowly creatures, ironic given your similar affinity for sneaking into my home). I sat there in frightened silence as I watched you rummage around my home, take pictures and leave.
Long after you left, I remained hidden. Too afraid to scurry from my hiding place should you return, it took days for me to feel safe again. Days!
I was finally ready to hunker down and move past this awful event, when I saw your Reddit post. I was stunned. To trespass is one thing, but to use a fellow student’s affordable housing situation for KarmaFarming? The nerve.
My living space is alternative, sure. But, the Wreck Beach shelter is more than just your run-of-the-mill abandoned incinerator. To you, it’s a musty-ass hovel. To me, it’s a home
It isn’t easy being a twenty-something living in a space reminiscent of a bomb shelter. But I love it. What started out as a decision born from frugalness has blossomed into a new lifestyle.
I keep asking myself where I can go from here. I’ve moved past focusing on feeling safe again. Now, I want to use my platform to advocate for alternative housing folks and make my way of living more accessible and welcoming. CottageCore is so 2020; BunkerCore will be the way of summer 2022.
All in all, I’m happy that I was able to share my way of living with the student community, including you, dear trespasser. In the future, you are welcome to visit and we can sit down for a proper introduction and house tour.
Just be sure to knock first next time.
The Dingbat is The Ubyssey's humour section. You can send pitches or completed pieces to email@example.com.