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The final part of my Homeless saga. It took me long enough!

So where was I? Oh that's right.

I was going to school then. I was tricked into going to college, really. Mother forged my signature on all the papers. At least I had one more place to park. I'd just been staying in the RIT parking lots. After trying Bryant and Stratton for a few sporadic nights, I can tell you right now, RIT's lots are much safer. No break-ins, thank goodness, but fights galore!

Living in my car wasn't as bad as it sounds. It was only six or so months, and it was probably the least severe winter we'd had here in Rochester in years. I was a massive collector of blankets and pillows (the perk of growing up in homes that were always ice fucking cold), and with the added cushion of my clothing bags taking up the floors, my back seat was a warm little nest.

I lived the life of a tramp, with the exception that I could have gone home. I could have imposed upon my friends, which I did on occasion. But I tried my hand at true tramphood. Scamming, stealing, sneaking around. I honed my ninja skills sneaking around RIT's dorms and tunnels late at night. I mastered the prime diving schedule at various stores. I actually lived on $100 for 6 months this way. I just spent it on gas between campuses, and maybe a few nights on the town with the boys.

I almost felt cheated out of a good tramping skill I picked up when I lived with mom, which was hitch hiking. I am entirely pro-hitch hiking, however after finding out there ARE creeps out there, I now limit my pick-ups to instinct, rather than keeping a pick-up-every-hitch-hiker policy, like I used to. To gain a little experience, I hiked no more than two miles at a time at first, which worked out nicely, because 1-2 miles in any direction from the house was where I'd find civilization. I walked all over until I finally found the guts to stick out my thumb. It was a thrill, because you never knew who you'd meet and what stories you'd hear, or get to share. I only ended up with a creep once, with my friend Lea. There was something really uncomfortable about him, plus a thick mustache (the math teacher / date-rapist mustache- we voted on the latter). First words after "Where ya headed?" were "I gotta say, you two looked much younger from down the road." We came upon a friend's house and got off there instead of our destination. I never ran into another creep while hitching again, but I had a routine all prepared if I ever did: "Oh I'm sorry. From down the road, you looked like a friend of mine. I don't really need a ride."

I almost felt cheated out of that experience while being homeless. But I'll live.

Ten bucks bought me a nice little digital watch (my first one, actually- chunky, cute, and pink, with a little light-up screen). I used its alarm function. That little thing could wake the dead! Even under one of my pillows. I had to set it ten minutes earlier when I stayed at the other campus. And I changed my clothes at night, and slept in them, so I wouldn't have anyone driving around me in the morning while I wriggled around the seats. It's difficult to dress in the car. Doubly so, when you're trying not to be seen.

During the day, I spent a lot of time in computer labs checking email, blogging, and doing homework; and in and around shops, treating bookstores like libraries (because if you haven't left the store, you haven't stolen anything), and watching for people to drop / toss their receipts. If I was lucky, an abandoned receipts would say "cash purchase" on them (sometimes debit would work, too), and I could go look for that item and get cash back, or make an exchange. "Excuse me, I asked for a soy latte, and this isn't," and flash a valid receipt. And my hoodie sleeve would accidentally engulf a pre-packaged danish. This was my favourite method of getting breakfast. Especially after discovering that sometimes an expiration date that's not past it's date doesn't mean that food in a dumpster doesn't belong there. Ugh.

I learned a lot of illegal tricks to scam the system. For instance, did you know that lots of bookstores have free books and CDs? Just dump choice products into the trash at the cafe, and wait til midnight for a delightful dive. Though, I only tried it with one book (actually, just a magazine). It didn't make it. The pages fell apart as I tried to get it out of the sopping-wet bag full of discarded coffee and sticky sugar. Not worth it. They also have a no-chase policy, but I was never daring or desperate enough to see for myself.

I only showered twice, maybe three times a week, by sneaking into the dorms late at night. They lock their doors after 10pm, so I had to be "home" by then, and if I missed my chance, I waited until I saw some other students heading in and asked them to hold the door for me, and we rode the elevator up together to the dorm halls. I had to ride up with someone even if I did make it before closing time. The elevators require keys to ride. Stupid, really. Anyway, I had terrible dandruff from using bar or liquid soap for shampoo. And I managed to make only one stick of deodorant last the whole ordeal.

Sometimes I wonder if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I know all this shit. I know tricks with butter knives, safety pins, bump keys, even bugs... There are little nuggets of this sort of wisdom floating all over my fortune cookie mind... collecting dust now, but still there, and I think of them every time I look at a fence, a locked door, drawer, or window on a campus, I still check receipts I see in parking lots, and you all know by now that I still dive for free stuff. Sometimes I wondered if it was a good life. The whole world was my amusement park, and I snuck in with a ticket I found on the ground. The only crime was getting caught.

Homeless part 1 (or "Why I Hate Them All")
Homeless part 2 (or "What Do You Want in a Woman?" "My Dick")
Homeless part 3 (or "I Can Scrape The Mold Off This")



( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 19th, 2009 12:32 am (UTC)
I usually told them I threw it away, or maybe I found an empty cup that I'd rinse out with water. I didn't hit the same place too often. And of course I'm not Charles, so I don't require coffee every morning ;)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )