Back Home, And Homeless | Palo Alto, California | New York Times
Mid-June, 2011: I find myself alone in a dark wooded park tucked between million-dollar houses south of Stanford University, looking for a spot in the bushes to stash my bags. Until that morning I’d been living in a cheap weekly-rate motel in Palo Alto. Before checkout, knowing I couldn’t afford the $48 fee for another night, I laid out my stuff on the bed. Over the cigarette burns on threadbare sheets, I scrounged for quarters, dimes and nickels. There was enough for an extra value meal at Taco Bell. I divided everything else I had between three bags; an olive-drab backpack my brother used in the Army Rangers, a black duffel I bought at Goodwill and a satchel for my laptop.
This was my life. I was two weeks shy of my 28th birthday, unemployed, broke, thousands of miles from my family, watching the weather forecast to see how uncomfortable sleeping outside would be that night. Whatever the prediction, I could handle it. Four and a half years in the Army, including 16 months as an infantryman in eastern Afghanistan, provided plenty of skills with no legal application in the civilian world. It was, however, wonderful preparation for being homeless.
via New York Times