Corey turns 21 tomorrow. He won’t be celebrating this rite of passage at ‘21’ or over impetuous fistfuls of Jagermeister but will instead spend the night sleeping upright in a chair at a 24-hour Kinko’s. Corey has been homeless in New York City for the past three and a half months.
He bathes in churches, spending $20 a week on mouthwash, shaving cream, and other necessities. The self-taught Midwestern transplant earns money by helping people with their computer problems at Kinko’s come nightfall. During the day, he uses the ghetto-tech computer equipment, he discovered in a dumpster, to surf the Internet at Starbucks (picking up free wireless waves from the neighborhood). Is he surfing monster.com for a job? “No. What’s the point? No one will hire you if you don’t have an address.” Instead, he’ll navigate local news and spend most of his time in Yahoo! Chat rooms trying to find his soul mate. “I have to admit, I have quite a way with the ladies. Especially the big ones. I like mine big.”
“Don’t these women, once they discover you’re homeless, lose interest?” How exactly does one go about dating when he’s homeless? He shows up on dates wheeling his monitors and United States Postal Service bin filled with toiletries.
“Some do, and it hurts my feelings, but once I find her, I’ll be very rich.” I have to admit, I missed it completely. I thought immediately, sugar momma or scam. Instead, he was alluding to the ending of a children’s book, an illustrated one with bears and hearts and a bench beneath an apple tree. “Finding her will make me a very wealthy man.” Corey is a romantic who values the love of a woman over any job. "You won’t understand; you’re from Manhattan." I understand, in a very real, every diary entry, way.
RedDiva2ooo: Meet your soul mate yet?
Corey: I think so. She’s 44 and looking for love just like me, but then I got this girl from Long Island who wants me now. BRB, I gotta go buy something.
RedDiva2ooo: I hope it’s not more computer stuff. You should save your money for food and your ticket back to Illinois.
Corey: I bought a headset.
RedDiva2ooo: Why would you spend your money on more equipment when what you had was working fine? I thought you said you really wanted to leave and head back west. Now you had enough money to do that, and you’re spending your money on a headset? You complained that at Starbucks they only gave you free sweets. Now you have money to buy food and leave. Why are you using it for more equipment?
Corey: I’m sorry.
RedDiva2ooo: No, really, I just want to understand.
Corey: Come back to Starbucks and I’ll explain
I’m not going back to Starbucks to hear his reason. Bottom line, you can never tell people how to spend their money. Whatever he’s doing, despite any voiced complaints on his part, it is working for him. He had the means to leave, and he chose to spend his money on needless equipment. Now, he’ll remain in Starbucks and McDonald’s looking for love with headphones, a cart, and a ‘need help’ sign in his hand.