When I was twenty-two, I left New York for San Francisco, determined to move past a failed relationship and a failed presidential campaign. I had done all I could for both–all I was able to do at that time–and was ready for my adult life to truly start.
That adult life began with a healthy amount of mooching off family members. I stayed at my brother’s Berkeley dorm, a co-op, while he was out of town for spring break, sleeping in his bed and reading his roommate’s Harry Potter books. I felt like an interloper even though I had permission to be there, so I tried to stay under the radar, eating meals at the taqueria up the street and sneaking to the communal kitchen only for cereal. The cereal and milk were dispensed from large canisters that seemed impossible to empty. Nevertheless, I found a nasty note on the windshield of my car, which I’d parked in one of the many vacant spots in the co-op lot. The author of the note assumed I was a homeless person, and told me that I’d been seen stealing food from the kitchen and that I was trespassing. It was the result of a miscommunication that was quickly cleared up upon my brother’s return, but I felt attacked and too timid to plead my case, so I decided to move on. (What happens next?)