When I ride the MUNI in San Francisco, I find myself very aware of the good fortune that has come upon me in recent years. Public transport is often a sure grounding in the reality of human suffering. I can see why some people choose commonality and others revile it.
Living near Market Street in San Francisco, I am often exposed to people in despair shouting incoherent, angry words. The shopping carts filled up completely with blankets, bags, items that could still be of use, etc. It is definitely a sight; although, far from an enjoyable one.
I remember a man sleeping on the street. As I came closer I looked at his face. He was actually awake but squinting at people through his sunglasses like a child who is pretending to be sleeping. I imagined he was like a child in mind. Stunted somewhere along his way towards adulthood. Another day, as he was being chastened for prowling through rubbish, I heard him screaming in retort about how Sandra Day O’Conner somehow will vindicate him. From my perspective and probably those who have the ability to read blogs, it was a bizarre response.
I wonder about his life and how he came to be that way. I’d like to make sure that if I die before my children are self-sufficient that their fate would never come to be like his.
Walking through Union Square, I noticed a woman dressed in a fancy but wild way. She was speaking in short terse tones and I could tell she was angry. I looked at her as I was trying to understand if she was in fact talking to herself or chiding someone on a phone. She looked very wealthy and had a shopping bag full of fine hats. I think only someone with access to an unlimited supply of funds would have such hats. As I came closer, it was clear she was not speaking to anyone in particular but was just insulting people as they went by. For me, she held up her hand to block my face from hers and said something to the effect of “I don’t want to see a talking head on top of a walking corpse…” Yes, it was something like that. It was rude, and it was a bit sick. I imagined that she had been in luxury in most of her life and was now somewhat stranded with the common folk. Or, maybe she was mentally ill. I would put my money on the latter. After a few more steps, I decided not to keep her vileness she wanted to pass to me. Although, some of it has remained as I am writing of it now. Writing can serve the purpose of emptying the mind. So perhaps it is fitting and proper to write about it.
Of all the images I have conveyed, I am so glad that those are not the images people see when they see me or when I see me. I know times will change and things will happen, but for now I feel quite fortunate and thankful.