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Homeless By Choice

Published: Monday, December 26, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2011 19:12

A Cardozo student we'll call "David" sat down with The Observer to discuss the unique decision that took him out of his comfort zone and onto the streets of Manhattan in an effort to experience challenge in life.

OB: We really appreciate you being able to talk to us.

D: For sure

OB: Because it was something very interesting, when we found out we were all like "hmm, why is he doing that?" and I think that's the first question that people hear, when they find out that someone is homeless by decision.

D: So first of all I just wanted to start off by saying on November 1 I moved into my old apartment because it started to get cold and I realized I may be tough but not capable of withstanding freezing temperatures for the whole winter.

There are a bunch of reasons. So I've kinda [sic] been planning this since this spring….I experienced the ultimate problem of mine, which is not having any problems. I know a lot of people with that same issue. People that [sic] are experiencing serious things in their lives like a disease or financial problems or things like that, people will say, "How could you be so ridiculous, how could you say not having any problems is a problem?" But the fact of the matter is, is that my life, it's really easy.

OB: Were you in Cardozo already?

D: So I'm in my second year at Cardozo and I already had an internship of my dream job. And I already had it set up for the summer and, like, my running was doing well, I didn't have romantic problems, and no financial problems, and my apartment was great, and the weather was great, and just everything was so good; yet I wasn't satisfied, my life just felt meaningless because I didn't have really any challenges so you know, just thinking back on humanity and mankind, I've realized that it has always been difficult for humans to survive until recently with technology and everything.

So I don't think that early man, Neanderthals and people a thousand years ago ever struggled with this feeling of boredness [sic] because they didn't have any problems. I kind of wanted to model my life after that a little bit and make my survival more difficult, so I could just give myself a problem. With that said, it's a problem that I can control and stop it whenever I want…and it's a problem that's difficult but not impossible to achieve.

OB: So how exactly does this work?

D: The way that it's working out is I have a gym membership, NY Health and Racquet club, and there's one right around the corner from Cardozo and that's my home base. The organization is probably the hard part about this. So I have four lockers and NY Health and Racquet club has showers and I shave there. It has shampoo and soap and all that stuff.

OB: Do they know you're there?

D: They don't know that I'm homeless, but they know that I'm there all the time and they kinda [sic] have a running joke – "Oh David, is this, like, your third time working out today?" You know most people go to the gym, they go to work out, I go to organize my stuff and leave stuff there, coming and going from school, or my internship, or running. They always see me and joke. They don't even make me scan my card anymore because I go in there so often. Nobody there knows that I'm actually living out of that gym.

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.

So I guess you might ask how I find a spot?

OB: Yes, I was going to ask how those six hours are spent?

D: I have a "go-bag." You know how during Hurricane Irene Mayor Bloomberg wanted everyone to have a go-bag? So I have a bag, which consists of the things you need to survive. I bring that with me every night and I always make sure I have it before I go to sleep. It has my blanket, three sweatshirts, sweatpants, two pairs of nice long socks it has a toothbrush and mouthwash – I'll show you – [shows the mouthwash]

So I make sure that I always have that with me.

The way that I find a spot is, the later it is the easier it is to find a spot. Less [sic] people are out and it's darker and quieter. I look for a dark nook. The first requirement is that it's out of the way, I don't want to be in anyone's way when I'm sleeping. The second thing that's nice but not necessary is that its dark. Obviously I prefer dark because it's easier to sleep and I don't like people being able to see my face. I don't know, just in case someone knows me. I like having a cover overhead, and also having a corner, so I can put my head on the corner. I put my stuff on the inside of me so that no one can take my stuff or else they'll wake me up.

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Thu Jan 12 2012 23:46
If L2 is real, I hope he or she understands that one's right to survive is entirely dependent upon one's right to vote. On again/off again apartment addresses can get dicey when it's time to vote. Even for the well - off . Let me remind you that HAVA (Help America Vote Act) has caused endless nightmares for homeless people due to outrageous demands. L2 - if you are real and you're reading this, please treat your address with respect. Lastly, L2 should consider legally helping to rid this country of HAVA, when he/she graduates; returning us to voting rights laws that are still on the books. This must be done without holding a Constitutional Convention which would likely lead to the permanent end of our country as we know it. HAVA has no conscience and never will.
Thu Jan 12 2012 19:28
Sophie,this interview lacks a certain authenticity. Nobody in ANY year of law school ANYWHERE in this country has this kind of time on his/her hands. I say that's the case even given unlimited personal wealth. I believe one of four scenarios are the truth: one possibility is that this article is a complete work of fiction just in time for seasonal contemplation of ethics. As a matter of fact, it makes me think of Larry David's Seinfeld episode about "Festivus." A second possibility is that the "2L" is actually an undercover policeperson who hopefully has been on duty preventing homeless people from getting beaten/killed. A third possibility is this 2L could be suffering from an Asperger type spectrum disorder which theoretically could save him lots of memorization time but with the obvious social fallout. A fourth possibility is 2L isn't a 2L at all - might be a phony and an anarchist or a Tea Party survivalist mole hell - bent on destroying any possibility for civilized societal obligations of caring for those who are less fortunate than himself/herself. In other words, somebody who is getting paid to spawn disrespect of the legal profession and is getting paid to fuel hostile attitudes against the federal government. Maybe somebody out to end "OCCUPY."
Sun Jan 8 2012 14:11
My hope is that "David" aka Rafiki C-Note ColdStone REALLY IS FORCED TO LIVE ON THE STREETS WITH NO MEANS OF SUPPORT. His "expermiment" was a lot like him. immature,self serving, irrelevant and incorrect.

Rafiki C-note is a snarky little imp, who takes things very personally and bashes anyone who doesn't agree.

G-D isn't fooled and paybacks are a btch.

Thu Dec 29 2011 10:19
I also have to add it is incredibly myopic of him to be so fearful of actual homeless people that he has a rule against interacting with them in any way. How can this little fool have convinced himself that he is challenging himself in any meaningful way when he scrupulously avoids confronting his naive and ill-informed opinions? He thinks most homeless people are homeless because they are criminals? How does that work? Is that why they are all so well-dressed and have such nice electronics? If you have ever spent time volunteering or working at a homeless shelter you will soon realize that many homeless people are either mentally ill and unable to get or stay on the medication they need (and are self-medicating to cope with that), or they fell on hard times and are unable to get back on their feet (it is very hard to get a job when you have no permanent address or phone number people can contact you at or a gym locker to store your dress shirts in) and/or they have disastrous situations with their families (an abusive situation they left behind, etc.). And this little fool thinks that actual homeless people with actual problems would be so interested in his schtick that they would not leave him alone. Bizarre. And why is he saying he wouldn't want them to think "He's a normal person with nice clothes and he's trying to be homeless" when that is exactly what he is doing?!
Thu Dec 29 2011 10:07
NY Health and Racquet is one of the more expensive gyms in the city and when I had a membership there, they charged you extra for permanent use of a locker. Even if they no longer do that, how on earth does this child -- he is obviously mentally a child -- think that having a gym to shower at and store his dress shirts in -- not to mention a campus with plenty of lounge areas to study and sleep in -- is comparable to being homeless? And has he never heard the old adage that only boring people are bored? If he put some effort into cultivating a personality for himself he wouldn't ever be bored. To me he sounds like he is either at least a little bit autistic, or sort of fantasizes that he is -- by which I mean he seems incredibly literal, unable or unwilling to understand anything subtle. The only challenge he can see for himself is living out of a gym? He does not see anything else in the world that might challenge him? That is pathetic. Pathetic at the lowest level. And the fact that he has an internship rather than someone with enough presence of mind to actually do something interesting with that opportunity (other than tick off boxes, such as showing up every day in a dress shirt) is really pretty depressing. So is the fact that he lacks courage to go on the record and reveal his name.
Ben F
Thu Dec 29 2011 02:09
Where'd you go to get your nut bro?!?!
Wed Dec 28 2011 20:59
I think perhaps David should try to HELP the homeless rather than pretending to BE homeless. Much more productive and a lot less dangerous.
Tim Tebow
Wed Dec 28 2011 12:48
God bless, David. He is a hero and an inspiration. Jesus Christ also rejected a life of materialism and vanity so that he could dedicate his sould and spirit to the Almight Father. Let it be known, David is the second coming. The rapture is imminent. The true believers will be saved. The rest will burn in the fires of Hell. Go Broncos!!!!
Wed Dec 28 2011 12:41
This David fella had dun stole 1 of my goddamn spots 1 nite. The next day I see that little puss with his flipped up, Tin-Tin-like hair and I wannted to poop all over his mouth.

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