I’m sure I’ve talked about this before: but I was homeless once.
It’s true. It was the summer in between semesters in the year 2004. I had wrecked my car the April before the end of the semester and could not return to my moms house, seeing as how I did not have a car to get to any job. She lived in a semi rural area and a car was a must. I couldn’t blame her. I wouldn’t have wanted 21 year old me around all the time either.
So instead I elected to stay in the New York City area, where I had gotten my first retail job at the Urban Outfitters on 14th and 6th. My father, who lived very close to the city, and I had a very rocky relationship at the time. Looking back on it now I can’t blame him for the way he reacted to me. At the time I was an unpredictable loaded cannon. I hadn’t been diagnosed yet. I didn’t think anything was wrong with me. Yet I spent my nights doing whatever drug I could find with whoever would do them with me. That was a surprising amount of people. Well, maybe not so. I was an attractive twenty something who was featured on the most popular alt porn site on the web.
Either way, that summer is known as ‘the summer with no home’ for me.
And I was oddly okay with that.
Maybe it was the invincibility I felt as a 21 year old. Maybe it was the fact that, for some reason, I felt entitled to things.
Looking back, it was the best summer of my life. I had a job. I had very little bills. And if shit really went down I could quit my job and go to my moms. I had a back up. And I could go to my dads during the week as long as he was home. The crux of the matter is that he didn’t want me there when he wasn’t, which was every weekend when he went away. Again, I don’t blame him. At the time I had an extreme tendency to steal liquor and bottles of champagne that had been lingering since their wedding when I was 17.
I had couches to sleep on. And when I couldn’t find a couch I found a good looking guy or girl to sleep with for the night.
I came away unscathed. I acquired neither herpes nor HIV.
I remember doing heroin in Brooklyn. I remember shooting for the first time simply for the thrill of it. I watched him take the needles from the packages. He had been a paramedic. I guess he stole his needles. I got my own.
At the time I didn’t care.
I threw up in Union Square.
I remember the night before my uncle Lenny’s funeral I had my own distorted Irish wake for him. I drank too much. I did too many drugs.
Because at the time I though that is what he would have wanted.
I know better now.
I like to say that I have lived more than most people my age. And to be honest, I probably have. I have seen more than they have. I have lived more. I have more perspective than they do.
And yet some would say I lay behind.
I do not want to own property.
I do not want a career.
I feel it is all a fleeting thing that means nothing in the end unless you really and truly helped someone or something along the way in a completely altruistic way.
And now, since I have the time, I look back on that summer and what it meant to me. I look back on it all and wish I could do it over again.