My time on the right coast has passed, and here I am on the left coast. Since my last post a lot has happened, I've learned a lot about San Francisco and about the people that live there. All of the people, not just the ones that you choose to meet.
Actually that brings me to a larger point. Think about all of your friends, and your family. At some level, you choose them as your social bedfellows. Naturally you might respond, "We don't choose our family." But, please take it from me, if you didn't want to spend any time with them, and that is what I'm talking about with regards to bedfellows, you would estrange yourself from them. Much like I've done with a vast majority of my family. That's a discussion for another day.
Lets talk about some of the people I've met, and what led to our temporary relationships. Somewhere between the hours of 12pm on Friday the 13th of June and 8am on Saturday the 14th 95% of my earthly possessions were stolen out of the back of my covered pick up truck. Actually, now that I think about it... Friday the 13th was a full moon, and a Friday. Then again, bad luck is like a Unicorn.
I've been robbed more times than I can count. As a child, my house (I use the term loosely) was a constant target of B&E's due to my living beneath the poverty line. Funny how that works, those with little take from those who have less. At that time my forced bedfellows were generally good people, but among them were the thieving losers of an economic competition ignored by most. Having this nuanced insight I decided to simply ask around to resolve the endeavor myself. Logically, my stuff was either too far for me to ever find, or right around the corner at this point.
Actually, both of those inferences turned out to be true. Just after leaving my front door I came upon a man who was obviously still living what I had left during my formative years. His name was "Mike", which I'm putting in quotes because everything I had assumed moving into San Francisco became an obvious weakness. People are not inherently honest. However, Mike was a kind enough guy who spoke slowly and slurred between crooked yellow teeth. He wore several jackets which had been layered strategically to compensate for scattered holes in each. His torn, stained jeans hung low over a pair of black and white Brian Sumner Adio skateboard sneakers with an overlay of the london tube printed on the sides and the front. You might be asking yourself, "wow, you know a lot about Mikes sneakers!" Well, that's only half true. I know a lot about those sneakers, but they weren't Mikes... they were mine.
I didn't tell Mike that he was wearing my sneakers at first. I asked him things like, "How are you?", "Where did you grow up?", and his favorite, "What kind of music are you into?" all of which was complimented with a social fondness for smoking cigarettes. Which, I would like to add is a generally universal way of striking up a conversation with strangers. I've had more conversations with strangers after offering them a cigarette, than by any other means. It really is a magical thing... But, I digress.
After a few minutes of small talk, I asked Mike where he got his (my) sneakers. "I found them down on the corner of Market." He replied. "Can you show me where you found them?" I asked politely. Mike left his jackets behind and led me to where he had found the sneakers, a nearby newspaper stand. Unfortunately there wasn't anything else left. Mike advised that I take a walk down Market st. to look for other articles that could have been left behind. He apologized a few times for my loss, and I decided to take his advice and go for a stroll.
Not two blocks from where Mike found the sneakers did I come upon more of my belongings. Unfortunately they were hanging abandoned from inside of a garbage bin, thrown amidst cans of cat food, a bottle of tobacco spittle, and other equally as valuable items. Inside the garbage can I found several articles:
- A blanket I got when I was a kid, one of my few remaining material links to my childhood. A 1988 Nintendo blanket with Mario, Link, and Samus on it.
- A pair of lo-top Chuck Taylor sneakers that I got in college to replace a pair that was stolen from me when I was in high school.
- A beat up sleeping mat that I got when I was 12 first joined Boy Scouts.
- A Fleece Blanket that I acquired from somewhere in the last few years.
- A green reusable canvas shopping bag.
- A mostly empty bottle of Antifreeze.
- A cotton faux suit jacket that I stole from my mom in high school because I needed a jacket. I've worn it to this day and no one knows that it's a woman's jacket (fun fact* the buttons are on the opposite side)
I felt a sudden and overwhelming sense of embarrassment and relief all at once. The relief is obvious, that I had found some of my things, and that more may have been nearby. The embarrassment came from having to sift through the garbage on a very public street for my valuables. Interestingly enough, the next time you're walking down the street and you see a homeless person rooting around in the garbage for recyclables or food, pay attention to how you feel. Is it sympathy? contempt? or a feeling of familiarity... you've seen this before. That's what people who look like that do. Then think about what you might think if you saw someone in a shirt and tie wearing a pair of polished boots doing the same thing. And coming out with handfuls of blankets and sneakers. Humiliation and embarrassment were the novel products of this new experience.
End. Scene 1
This originally started out as a summary of a few days of events. But I really liked writing and describing all of the vividness of the unfolding events so I'm going to take my time and stretch my story across a few "Scenes". It really does break up that way organically, anything more rushed would have been cheap. It's also exhausting for me to write this way, I'm not an naturally talented writer despite what my girlfriend tells me. It's a challenge.
Stay tuned for scene 2.