A Cardozo student spent half a year living on the street because "I wasn't satisfied, my life just felt meaningless because I didn't have really any challenges." Noting that Neaderthals probably didn't experience boredom, he quit paying for his apartment and started sleeping on the street.
After moving back indoors for the winter months, "David" told his tale to the Yeshiva University Observer. (He's keeping his identity secret until he gets a job.) The interview, entitled "Homeless By Choice," reads like a primer on maintaining an outwardly bourgeois lifestyle while sleeping on the street. The key was maintaining a membership and four lockers at the New York Health and Racquet Club, he says:
So I have one locker for running clothes and laundry, one for dress shirts, one for dress pants and one for miscellaneous things. And also each locker has a spot for shoes at the top so that's really good.
I had to really reduce the amount of stuff that I had. I had to get rid of everything that's nonessential. I only have, like, five dress shirts, five dress pants, some running clothes that are necessary and then obviously sweatshirts and stuff. Other than clothes I don't really have a lot of stuff, just stuff for shaving and brushing my teeth and books. I have a school locker too, so that helps.
I also have access to my school. Its open until midnight and then opens again at 8 a.m. so I nap there a lot. There's this one room in the library that has couches and I nap there during the day when I have breaks in between classes. At night I try and stay in there as late as possible so I can get the maximum amount of warmth. So I'll leave there at midnight and go find a spot and then NY Health and Racquet club opens at six. So I really only have six hours outside, so its not unbearable.
Asked whether he recommends homelessness for others, David replied in the negative, but did noted that he could do a bang-up job as a "homelessness consultant":
One thing that I definitely see doing being a "homelessness consultant." There are so many people that are getting foreclosed on and have nowhere to go. The fact of the matter is, I would say that maybe 100 dollars a month invest in gym and lockers and equipment, it can be done. I wouldn't recommend it for someone it wasn't a necessity for. But for someone going through hard times, it can be done… Just because you sleep outside for six hours a night doesn't mean that for the rest of the day you can't be shaved showered, in clothes, acting normal and doing normal things.
So, there you have it. The secret to successful homelessness: Having enough discretionary income to afford a gym membership, and maybe tuition at a school where the library stays open late. Although at that point, you could maybe just move into a flophouse? Depending on the weather, where your tuition is coming from, and how comfortable you find park benches. Personally, I keep a spare memory foam mattress pad in my hobo bindle. Really improves the comfort of rusted-out sidewalk grates. [YU Observer, sleeping man of unknown housing status via Flickr]
Correction: Since Cardozo is a law school, David isn't a "college kid" so much as a "law student."