American Apparel

Today a homeless person gave me a T-shirt. It's black with a keyboard on it. You know you've come far in life when the homeless start clothing you. Anyway, I take this gesture as a sign of acceptance. For a few months now I've been trying to befriend the residents of the underbridge on my commute so that when I become homeless, which is only a matter of time, they will welcome me.



I used to go in the staff entrance, up the stairs, to my desk, to do fundraising as part of my internship. Almost ten years later, I am standing in line behind the locked gate with the immigrants and widows and high school dropouts, feeling like a fraud. I used to work in the food pantry, too, so I know how it works. Now the well-dressed volunteers eye me nervously and tell me how many cans of soup and beans I can take for a one-person household, even though this information is clearly spelled out on large signs. Plus I still remember.

The only free food I got as an intern happened far away from this building, at swanky cafes downtown where we had our planning meetings, when one of my superiors would invariably pay for the bill of the poor college student. I remember thinking how the free food was the most valuable part of the internship. If I only knew...

Now I just wish I had the excuse of being a college student.