This was his routine: He’d work until midnight or later, and then fall asleep around 2 a.m. on one of the couches. At 7 a.m. – and no later than 8 a.m. so he’d be safely out of his field bed before anyone else arrived – he’d wake up, go down to the gym for a workout and a shower, and then go back upstairs and scarf a breakfast of cereal and water or Coke.
Then he’d work all day, finally waiting until everyone else in the building had gone home before returning to one of his three favored couches.[H]e was spending next to nothing. The first month, he spent just $30…“It was a game I was playing. What is the minimum amount of money I can spend each day…”“I only had maybe five to ten T-shirts, a pair of jeans, and a pair of shorts, so it all fit in one locker. [Plus] they had their own laundromat there, so I’d wash my clothes there.”Simons could probably have crashed elsewhere, but he wanted to see how long he could make the AOL squatting work. Some friends knew what he was doing, and they thought it was funny.
“I didn’t think they were going to catch on. I had no indicators that they even cared about that… After the first month, I was like, ‘This has worked so far, but this probably isn’t sustainable,’ so I made sure my friends were OK with me eventually crashing on their couches.”
And then came that fateful morning with the 6 a.m. yelling. “One of the guys who manages the building came in at like 5 or 6 in the morning,” Simons lamented, “and he scoured the entire place to find me. And he ripped me a new one. He was pissed that I was treating it like a dorm. Which was reasonable.”
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