Homelessness at ARCO (or ampm)

Anthony Jauregui
Jun 15, 2017 · 4 min read

I tell people I lost my job for sympathy, but I really quit.

With quitting came a few sacrifices.

Those sacrifices include but are not limited to: Daily trips to Taco Bell for $5 Nacho Fries boxes, ruthless spending sprees at the supermarket checkout line and top shelf alcohol.

I was feeling a 4.2/10 on the depressed Richter scale and I wanted to get fucked up and fucked up fast. So instead of applying to jobs, I researched the cheapest way to get fucked up and after a minute and a half of google searches I came across FOUR LOKO.

Because I was on a get fucked up for cheap budget, $5 or less for high alcohol content sounded appealing.

I put on a Hawaiian shirt with a snap back and some tie dye alien socks to look like a young alcoholic. I wanted people to know I was buying FOUR LOKO for me and not a group of kids outside the store who solicited my over 21-year-old services.

I drove to a nearby “Harry’s Market” and they were closed.

I drove to a supermarket and they were open, but didn’t have FOUR LOKO.

The only other place that was open anti and post meridian was ARCO, so I drove to one on the way home.

There was a homeless man asking people to wash their windshields and I prepared myself mentally. Not because I was scared he would approach me, but because I too was strapped for cash and really wanted to get fucked up. At least that’s what I assumed his story was too.

I went inside and they were out of the elusive FOUR LOKO. At this point I felt like a 43-year-old divorced father of 1 driving around looking for a Vulpix in Pokémon GO!

But the worst part was that I now had cash to spare for the homeless guy that was for sure going to ask me for money.

“hey man let me wash your windows for a little bit of change i’m just trying to get enough for a bite to eat”

I had a dollar apart from my crisp $5 bill so I offered him that.

“yeah man that’s fine god bless you” with his hands in a deformed steeple.

This was especially hard for me because I like washing my wind shield a particular way, but I gave in and let him earn his dollar bill.

He was wearing a Billabong t-shirt with a sunrise print, but for him it looked more like a sunset on Tatooine; orange, smudged, and disillusioned. His hands were black like he’d been wrenching on a car he didn’t own. His shoes were WACK; initially white but so dirty they were black. He used a crumbled piece of brown paper towel; the ones from our elementary school bathrooms before there were air dryers except it was smudged with oil and moist from water.

He looked worse than defeated.

But there was some sort of solace coming from him.

He looked lost but knew exactly where he was going.

But there was something about him that I saw in myself: we both were suffering in our own versions of “hard times.”

I went into my car and got some change from my center console, which came out to more pennies than quarters, but I figured the gesture was what mattered.

Before handing him the dollar, pennies and couple quarters, I asked him to tell me about himself. His answered followed immediately without thought.

“im from new jersey i came out here got a job had a good life got married then lost my job and got divorced the bitch took everything”

He finished up the windshield wiping and it looked worse than before he cleaned it but I didn’t care.

I asked for his name.


I wasn’t listening. I was shell shocked.

In an attempt to colloquialize and appropriate his suffering I told him I was jobless too.

“wow man that’s crazy at least you’re driving that” as he counted the loose change.

I asked for some advice on being jobless.

“don’t get married” he laughed.

I sat in my car and thought about life: The decisions, irrelevancies, comparisons, and the brown paper towels we used in elementary school.

The right thing to do would be to get a job, get married, and live. But that’s how _______ life started before he was homeless and alone.

So I went back inside ARCO or ampm and got a corn dog and a Red’s Apple Ale because no homeless guy life started with a corn dog and a Red’s.

Anthony Salvador Jauregui, 23


Half Bad Ass Half Phony

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