Homeless: A State of Mind, or a State of Being?
A satirical self help guide to homelessness in LA
Okay, so you're homeless in LA. I bet you moved here to seek fame and fortune, to make a name for yourself in the "industry." You were completely unprepared for the, dare I say it, unreasonable cost of living in this behemoth of a city. Your homelessness began with renting an apartment that's payments could have kept you fed for 3 months. Then came the incredible cost of gas, the parking tickets, and last but not least the inability to drown your sorrows in a drink that cost less than $12.
You can probably give up on any notions of meeting the rich and famous or working a studio gig, at least for a little while. You should not be without hope though, LA is the best place in the country to be homeless. You can trust me, I would know. You have to trust me, no one else is writing tips and tricks for being homeless.
Here are a few recommendations on how to best get by in the city of angels on a (serious) budget.
Tip Number 1: Use the beach to your advantage.
You should really count yourself lucky. To be homeless here is the pinnacle of destitute superstardom. Most of us resort to living under bridges to stay out of the rain. You, on the other hand, can live on the beach. The beaches here offer a variety of amenities to suit your new life. The first of these is a place to sleep. Sleep always comes first. Without it, you don't need drugs to act like zombies. Sand makes for an incredible crash pad. It's firm, but yielding. It's got excellent airflow, so you'll never feel too hot. Realistically, most people would spend hundreds of dollars on a mattress nature has gifted you. Being homeless here means you can have a new California king sized bed every night. It's only temporary, though. I'm sure you'll be off the streets once someone recognizes the genius in that script you wrote. You know which one I'm talking about.
Reminder: Yes, the beaches are raked every morning to provide the paying residents with a manicured view, so please plan your sleep schedule accordingly.
Secondly, and this a big one, you have access to the public showers. You've had some sleep, that's great. While you may not feel like the walking dead, you do smell like one. This isn't up for debate. Let's just keep it real and admit that personal hygiene was thrown out the window shortly after you stopped being able to afford your LA Fitness membership. These showers are a lifesaver. Sure, they aren't warm, and no, you won't have any real privacy, but you will be able to shower before that interview that you know is coming.
Gentle Reminder: No, you can not shower naked. The paying residents are not accustomed to seeing anyone naked who hasn't been airbrushed to perfection and you should keep this in mind.
Speaking of gym memberships, you do not have to give up on your physical fitness here. The beaches have various exercise equipment and my third and final tip for the beach is that I highly suggest you make good use of what's available. Now is the best time to really work those abdominals, really master the pull-up and the dip. You'll find that your fellow beach dwelling compatriots may not be as civilized as the paying residents and having a slight edge over them in the muscles department could make all the difference in the world for you and your dwindling possessions.
Tip Number 2: Beware the paying residents.
You really have lucked out, becoming homeless here. While it may seem harder, life is actually a whole lot less complicated for you now. This is due, in large part, to nobody wanting to speak to you anymore. This is because you have nothing to offer them. I'm sorry if that sounds cruel, but it's the honest truth. You're probably sitting in a library using your allotted half hour of screen time, really, you have to give up on the notion that the paying residents want anything to do with you.
While you should look on this whole situation as a boon, you need to be careful about how you comport yourself around those who are still struggling to become homeless. Due to you no longer serving any sort of purpose in the lives of the paying residents, they will demonstrate extreme aggression should you happen to provoke them. Do not, for the love of all that's holy, ask these people for anything. They are completely unwilling to pay their housekeepers more than minimum wage, what makes you think you'll receive better treatment? It's important to be mindful of the women, especially the ones with handbags. Should you get in their way as they're trying to get their coffee, or attempt to ask for some money as they leave work, you will be in for a world of hurt. They will pounce on you with extreme prejudice. They will jamb their Louis Vuitton handbag so far up your ass you will be pulling dry cleaning receipts and parking tickets out of it for a week. They will laugh at you and mince away, exceedingly aware of how expensive their shoes are and how expensive yours are not.
You can trust me, my poor vagabond friend. I have been there and it truly isn't pleasant.
Tip Number 3: Remember "garbage day."
Garbage day, the day of the week that always seems to sneak up on paying residents, is now the most important day of your week. I highly recommend you begin keeping a calendar for the days those seldom thought of men in their lumbering vehicles come calling. The night before they haul the paying resident's refuse away, go for a midnight stroll with your cart or wagon. This could potentially be a night of bountiful harvest for you. Do not miss out. The paying residents will have remembered at the last moment that it is trash day, and they will be throwing things out with wild abandon to make room for the Amazon delivery coming later that week. Look for food, yes. Look for cans and bottles to cash in, definitely. However, and most importantly, look for objects your destitute comrades may need. Guitar strings. Tent poles. Old pillows or blankets. Perfectly functioning phone chargers that look a bit worse for wear. If you can show up to your next community get together with any of these things, you will be hailed as a king or queen. Of course, this homelessness is only a temporary state for you. Your brother knows a guy in the "industry" and he's heard they're looking for someone. You know your break is just around the corner, but until then make friends! Figure out who needs what, and what they can do for you. You are not a social pariah, your social circle has simply shifted and you should make the best of it.
Reminder: Find a secondary cart or old backpack and start a collection of found objects. This is important for "street cred". You're not neurotic, you just collect pen caps and old hats because it makes you feel good. Your compatriots will understand this and praise you for your excellent scavenging abilities.
Well, your half hour is probably drawing to a close. I'm sorry I kept you from applying for PA positions on Craigslist and desperately checking your email, hoping to hear from back from someone. Anyone. However, with these three simple tips, you will be okay. Really, you will be. Maybe even thrive as the new king or queen of the LA homeless.