Hobo University: Day 1
So what do you do if you’re homeless – kicked out, abandoned, left; have a full week of university, including six assignments (4 x 2000-word essays, an oral and a short story); hate Christopher Pyne and feel obligated to rip off universities; are flat broke because you’re fucking off to Africa in 10 days or you’re just a bum; and have the ingenuity and class of a true hobo.
Last night, after our tutes, in the anonymity of darkness, Ms. Frizzle and I walked to our camping spot. We walked past the campus – the studious Asians still grinding away, the depressed old cleaners refusing to relinquish the empty ideal of “contributing to society”, past the student accommodation and the chants of, “Skull, skull, skull!” and the quiet rooms with open curtains and international students speaking poor English and wandering within.
Just beyond the lake, we dug through the bushes to a secluded little patch of grass where we set up our purple six-man tent. Both tired from the day, we played three games of backgammon and drifted off to sleep to the ambience of crickets, frogs and the mosquitoes brave enough to suck a fresh meal.
I awake at 5am, an hour before the alarm, freezing cold – definitely have to hook up a blanket from somewhere today; maybe they have fire blankets in first aid somewhere.
We enjoy a hot shower; we tie our hair up with hair ties we found on the pavement outside; we use foamy soap from the dispensers and share a little micro towel.
I am going to try and live for free today. Ms. Frizzle is planning on fasting, as she has done out of spirituality, necessity and health before in her many trips to India and Pakistan. I have had no such experience, and am fucking starving already. She assures me that I can just drink water and juice all day, so I head over to the Student Guild and find a group of flexing yoga students and an angry sign informing me that the Kitchen is Closed. Rats.
I have an international politics lecture now; no time for food, I hope we talk about the West undermining developing countries to keep them in a perpetual state of poverty – that will humble my belly, who hasn’t seen food for all of 13 hours.
No destitution and poverty in the politics lecture today, which is rare. However, we did discuss the three core elements to civil unrest and revolution: poverty, corrupt government and high youth unemployment. And a Fijian guy happened to bring a whole bunch of organic bananas that he handed around, so for now my belly is satiated.
I head to the Student Guild to locate some juice, which I read is a good substitute for food while fasting in a book that I found outside the Co-op bookstore. This is my first time venturing to the Guild. I walk to the Guild chanting in my brain, “I don’t need food,” “What is hunger anyways?” and “I’m the man,” but once I cross the threshold I become unstuck. There are buckets of sausages, rows of canned tuna, muesli, cereal, fruit, butter and butter and stacks of cup-a-soups in a delicious rainbow of flavours with each colour enticing another pool of saliva to gather in the far recesses of my mouth – I think I might fast tomorrow.
After a glutinous binge of meat and bread and muesli, I awake from my frenzy feeling dirty and guilty. I am only going to drink water for the rest of the day.
I spend the day completing the majority of one 2000-word assignment while drinking six bottles of water, checking out the fine babes patrolling the uni and listening to Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac and Le Tigre until my ears burn and ache.
I’ve been informed that there is free food at an art show in Lecture Theatre 7 tonight. The idea of going has been swimming through my thoughts for the last two hours. I have decided to abstain knowing that it would be impossible to resist the gorge if I was surrounded by heaps of delicious food – probably sushi, cakes, quiche and juice – and heaps of shit art.