Tuesday, July 20, 2021


As soon as I exited the building I noticed the change. The bum sleeping near the gutter outside the empty storefront had move inwards, and was now in repose against the wall. I do not know who he is, but I recognized the blanket; thick crusty tan brown. During cold summers in SF the night-time fog dominates, and if you sleep outside a warm filthy covering is a godsend. There are fewer streetpeople than two years ago. Many of the saner ones are now housed, and more or less enrolled in programs that might restore a semblance of normalcy to their shattered lives. Those still living outside have rejected all outreach and fallen through the huge cracks; they were quite loopy to begin with, and are now even more so.

During waking hours they sit on the pavement and stare at the world with empty eyes. Occasionally their worn faces flicker hurt, resentment, or seething anger.

Most of them are non-smokers. Several have dietary hang-ups.
They are all unique individuals.

San Francisco residents either avoid the main streets or have learned to be insensitive to human misery, while striving to save the planet, wales, and spotted fly-catchers, as well as recycle, re-use, re-purpose, cut back on water, wear clothing that shows their concern for the well-being of everyone, and support green non-gmo ethically sourced provisioners. And what luck that many of those also use miracle berries from the Amazon, ancient tribal knowledge, rain-forest nurturing fibres, roots, and herbs!

Bit of a rant there. Sorry. I tend to avoid main streets. Market Street is a pissoir, Van Ness has joggers and drug addicts, and Union Square is awash with suburban droodges, muggers, and druggies. And I've never checked to see if my grocers ethically source bugger all.

I am so glad that people have learned to pick-up their dog's poo.
That alone adds inestimably to the quality of life.
Along with hip yoga pants.

The fog was extremely evident at the top of the hill when I left for the first smoke, and there were mercifully few people about. The occasional dogwalker or jogger, and one or two elderly Cantonese getting their morning constitutional. Not being entirely self-absorbed or dog poo focused, as the yoga-pantsed pet owners and exercise freaks are, they will often nod in friendly-distant fashion, and I nod back.

I'm sure they appreciate my not wearing unique yoga pants OR thick crusty tan brown rags.
It was still foggy when I returned. My downstairs neighbor was warmly bundled in a bathrobe enjoying a smoke. Cigarettes will take far less time than a pipe, and give one the option of not actually getting dressed and leaving the front steps. All over the city, smokers will venture out periodically to sniff the air, dodge the joggers, and sip from the cup of coffee they brought with them on their jaunt. You learn to recognize them after a while.


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