“We’re closing,” the manager said, not unkindly. I layered on some warm clothing, hoisted my backpack, and began a slow trek along the glistening sidewalk of the Champs Élysées.
It was 2am, and I had spent the last five hours in McDonalds, using perhaps the only free WiFi in Paris to scramble for a couchsurfing host until my laptop died. Afterwards, I got a little sleep in a corner of the restaurant. If it kept raining, I knew I was in for a long night.
There’s a paradox to homelessness: as long as you’re unobtrusive, it’s easiest to be a bum in affluent areas. People leave meals half-finished on the table, and shops throw food out on its best before date, creating a hobo’s buffet; there’s often more public transit; and – the best part in an unfamiliar city – orienting yourself is easy. Supposing I had…
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