A Street Kid with Desire

I might have been the only kid since the Great Depression ended to attempt to run away from home with an actual bindle stick.

No, I didn’t come from a troubled home, though I did love threatening to prank call the child abuse hotline featured in a particularly effective Full House episode. (My mother still grimaces at the sight of Bob Saget).

These were the beginnings of my long-standing dream to become a famous star through television or film. To achieve this ultimate goal, I began at a young age to try to emulate anything I saw on television that struck my fancy. My childhood TV idol, Punky Brewster had run away from home (wait, now that I think back, maybe she was just an orphan…well, that’s kind of depressing) and those damn Olsen twins were a year younger than me, and already out “solving any crime by dinner time.”

It was clear that I needed to try my hand at being a runaway. Since Bugs Bunny always had a bindle stick when traveling, my 8-year-old brain decided that was the only legit way to go. I have no idea what I deemed important enough to take, but I left on a mission for freedom with my bindle stick slung over my shoulder.

My ingenious plan was foiled when I made the grave mistake of telling my neighborhood buddy, Chad, that I was running away from home. I made it three blocks before Chad’s tear-streaked face and pleas for my safety convinced me to return to the life I had so artfully just escaped.

As I walked in the front door of my house, I remember expecting a prodigal son-style welcome, complete with the prerequisite animal slaughtering. I faced, instead, disappointing silence. No one had even realized that I had been a hardened street kid for an entire fifteen minutes, let alone planned which picture to put on a milk carton.

When I recently began to reminisce about my glorious afternoon as a street kid, I realized that DC might just be the easiest place to live a homeless (or nomadic, if you prefer) life while remaining chic. I have had friends embracing a life sans permanent shelter almost constantly since I moved here; in fact one is borrowing my air mattress right now. This is the nature of a transient city.

So here’s Washington’s own list of things and places that cost absolutely nothing for all my fellow street urchins out there. Just don’t forget your bindle sticks, kids.

– Lindsay

About Lindsay Golder

Freelance writer, book-fiend, lover of shamefully bad films regularly featured on TBS or TNT.

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