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Squatting & Gear
Donovan J, May 18, 2006

When I was still in Kentucky, I was trying to come up with a way for me to start over. You know, go back to nothing and work my way in to a new life. I was fed up with all the drama and the scenery. Everything had finally gotten to me just like I always figured it would; most of my friends had become problematic cough syrup addicts and alcoholics, those who weren�t were too busy causing drama to actually hang out with, I had gone through about ten jobs in three years, I kept talking about going to college but somehow never seemed to get around to it. Everything kinda seemed hopeless at the time and I wanted out. I didn�t really know how soon I was going to get my way or really if at all, but I knew I wanted it.
When my brother offered to take me in while I was stranded in Louisville, I thought, �This is my chance,� you know. With all enthusiasm, I headed out to Gilroy, California on a two and a half day Greyhound ride. Hellish, at best.
Three months later, I find myself being thrown out by him, much in the same manner of my mom throwing me out. I had been placed �on-call� at my job and gotten fired from my temp job. I had three hundred dollars to my name, no car, and no one to turn to. Mom wouldn�t take me back in, my brother and I couldn�t possibly reconcile, and everyone I knew lived with their parents still.
So what did I do? What any eighteen year old kid would do: I headed to San Francisco. Why the fuck not? Big city, plenty of people, plenty of jobs, plenty of opportunities. Well, yes and no.

When I first headed up here, I ended up staying in a little hotel in Chinatown at thirty bucks a night. I knew I had another check coming in a week; I just had to get to Gilroy in order to pick it up. So, I scoured the surrounding area looking for employment, but I quickly discovered how hard it was to be contacted when you don�t have a phone. I had a phone previously, but I had destroyed it in a rage during one of my arguments with my brother.

With time and money running out, things were beginning to look desperate. I found solace, however, in the little blue acoustic for which I had shelled out my next to last thirty dollars before I picked up my check.

Fast forward to about a week later. My final check had been almost entirely expended. I had stayed at a hostel in lower Haight for a few days, but that ended quickly. I spent about three days roaming back and forth between Embarcadero and Fisherman�s Wharf without sleeping, frequenting the IHOP for midnight coffee.

I was forced to break down and call my brother from a payphone to beg him for some money. He agreed to send me sixty so I could get a room for another night. I remember leaving the library carrying my bag of clothes, a sleeping bag and my guitar. I remember the relief I felt at the time. In retrospect, it wasn�t actually all that much about which to be relieved, but at the time that was a huge break for me.

While standing outside the library, I started craving nicotine. I began to look around for someone smoking when I spotted a girl sitting on the curb by herself. What you must understand about me is my weakness for cute girls, and oh, what a weakness. I really had nothing in mind except getting a cigarette, but ended up with so much more.

Knowing that I had sixty dollars on the way, I offered to repay her for the cigarette - which was her last - by buying her a pack. So we got to talking, and she mentioned that she was moving in to a new apartment with her boyfriend. Being the far-fetched individual I am, I decided to strike a deal with her. I would help them with moving in and I�d take them out to eat if they�d let me crash at their new place for a night or two.

About an hour later, we met up with her boyfriend and he said that it would be perfectly okay. They had just gotten off of the streets themselves, so it wasn�t all that surprising that they were so willing to help me out. They agreed to let me stay with them as long as I could contribute financially, and I did with the help of my mom, strangely enough.
Bear in mind that I come from a town of about 8,000 people. These kids were the most screwed up people I�d ever met at this point in my life. I don�t remember a single day that they didn�t smoke or shoot crystal. For the first three days, there was nothing but arguing between them. It actually got to the point where I walked out of the apartment and went out behind the complex to get some air and I ended up having to run back because I heard screaming coming from the apartment.
That two week period was one of the most hellish times I ever spent in my life. Every day was an argument, and nightime did not necessarily bring rest for weary eyes and ears. Being that I had nowhere else to go at the time, I bore through it, hoping for respite. But rather quickly, my mom wasn�t able to send me money anymore.
Though I didn�t realize it at the time � for obvious reasons � this was exactly what I had been wanting for the longest time. I was back to zero. This was my chance to start over. Granted, I didn�t really want to start over in this fashion � but hey! I finally got my chance.


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