Today I had lunch with lj user tonomo at a really cool Cuban cafeteria called “Margon Restaurant“. That place rocks! On our way back asked — where would I go if were to become homeless. Knowing me, I don’t think he was much surprised by the fact that I already gave this question much though.
One thing for sure – I would not go to a shelter. You see, homeless people don’t go to shelters because those places are very dangerous. It’s very easy to get beaten, robbed and raped at the same time there.
I guess I would try to raise some “capital” first. said that it would probably be a good strategy to try and look really miserable. But my approach would probably be to drag around some humorous sign. Something classic, like “Tell Me Off for $2” or “Official Sperm Donner – Fill My Cup and I Will Fill Yours”. I would definitely not beg for money in two places – trains and near places where people eat. I would try to pick places where people go for a walk – near Central Park of ferry terminals.
Having enough money for a subway fare would allow me to ride around in subway cars. In winter it’s a sure way to keep warm at night. I would have to take a lot of cat naps, sleeping for long periods of time would be dangerous. I would try to switch to Uberman’s sleep schedule. I would also spend a lot of time sleeping and reading in libraries. Libraries also have bathrooms (as well as some of the better terminal subway stations).
Keeping my personal hygiene at a semi-decent level would be hard, especially in winter. I suspect that there are some churches that have showers, which let homeless in. Dunno. That’s a tough one.
Finding a place to stash my things would be tough.
There used to be times when homeless could rent a small cubicle in special “hotels” for very small sums of money. There’s an amazing book by my favorite photographer, Harvey Wang, about such places. It’s called “Flophouse: Life on the Bowery“. Well, those places are now gone with gentrification and all.
Another alternative would be to become one of the Mole People, but I am afraid that after that book came out, all the homeless were kicked out of the tunnels. My favorite chemistry professor, Dr. Hussey, told me once about homeless that lived in the tunnels under Brooklyn College. Those tunnels were secured as well, I believe.
There is a “Homelessness For Dummies” type book called “Homeless Survival Guide“. The price is a bit steep at $18 though. To the wish list it goes.
You know, “Clean Underwear from Amazon’s Target Store” is a good suggestion (as always). Not so “Ladybug Rain Boots” and “Helicopter Sleepwear Sets for Baby”.
In any case, what’s your homelessness strategy?