Truth be told, if my father were still alive at that point, I probably would have ran home to him with bitch tears in my eyes, but he wasn’t. At that point my Mother and I were very firmly estranged, so she was out of the question. I thought about filing for bankruptcy, but ew, only poor people do that. Trust me, the bitter taste that appeared in your mouth after reading that last sentence will turn into the delicious taste of sweet irony in just a few moments.
See, I knew myself and I recognized my comfort zones. I realized that if I stayed in my apartment filled with pretty things, I’d never change my attitude. I thought of ways I could make myself as uncomfortable as possible and when I had pictured the absolute worst of the worst, I did it.
I hauled every single solitary thing I owned out on my front lawn and I sold it. I sold my furniture, my beads, my dishes, and even the half empty bottle of windex under the sink. When I had finished, all of my earthly possessions amounted to 2 boxes of clothing and 1 box of personal papers and mementos, both of which I stored in the truck of my car. Then, I sublet my apartment to someone else, dropped out of college for a semester, purchased a really cheap gym membership, and I went homeless.
I vowed to go homeless until every cent of my debt was paid. Besides, I figured the whole experience was going to be very glamorous. I pictured myself working all day and then coming home, sitting in my car, and writing a book of memoirs about my experience. In reality, being homeless fucking sucked and pretty soon the only thing that mattered in my life was un-homeless-ing myself.
The one good thing about being homeless is that you really have nothing to do but work. When your boss asks you to work a few extra hours, you don’t hem and haw because you’re dying to get home and hang out in your car. I actually ended up picking up a second job at the buffet across the street just to fill the time. I’d work my primary job from 7am-4:30pm, walk across the street to my second job and work from 5-midnight, and then offer to do the nightly cleaning and lock up later so that I wouldn’t finish until 2 in the morning or so. After that, I’d drive to the gym and sleep in my car until it opened. I’d go in and pretend to exercise for 5 minutes so I could shower and start the whole cycle over again. My only bill was the membership to the gym and a few dollars in gas a week. I didn’t even pay for food; I just ate for free at the buffet. Since I had previously pretended that the credit cards companies didn’t exist for four months, a lot of them let me ‘settle’ my debt for slightly less than I owed or at least cut me some slack on miscellaneous fees and interest.
After I paid off my credit cards, I paid off my car. Then, I opened up a savings account and put about $500 in there. My first post-homeless apartment was significantly smaller and less extravagant than my last. I didn’t have a single stick of furniture or any cool Jerry Garcia bear beads to decorate with, but I knew that there was no way in Hell I was going to get my electricity turned off again.
And that, my friends, was one of the best feelings in the world.