Monday, September 11, 2017

Down On Eddy Street

Down On Eddy Street.

It's sunny down there, down on Eddy Street, Tenderloin. Saddest place I've ever been. Hotel's good, with my view and my privilege and my escape plan, and my temporary status as a tourist.

They shout at each other, down on Eddy Street. There's drama, always fucking drama. I watch the sadness and drama unfold beneath that giant mural of the guy and his microscope, looking microscopically at his own heart, ripped it seems by his own hands, from his own chest. He's really checking this heart thing out, and I wonder what he makes of it all.

I see two people, down on Eddy street. Fucked. Fucking fucked. Their lives are fucked. They are fucked. Right now they are chemically fucked and the hedonist that I am thinks good on you, you've found a way of being fucked on the streets of Tenderloin, San Francisco. Good on you. It's not the Summer Of Love, but good on you.

I watch, fascinated, from my privileged place, as he does this basically, fundamentally beautiful thing: he takes his filthy rag from his filthy bag, and she screams what the fuck are you doing? He says kind words and goes about his task. But what is he fucking doing? One corner of his filthy rag goes up on ledge, stabilised by a heavy can. A luggage bag stabilises the next corner on the same ledge. On the ground, stumble and stagger, a sun couch folded forms the third corner, and I see it now.

He tucks the fourth corner through the pop-up handle of the luggage case (lost or theirs – who knows?), and there is shelter of sorts against the sun.

And it strikes me that I am actually seeing beauty. This broken man is doing the decent thing, that thing we all aspire to: he is providing shelter for someone he loves, down on Eddy Street.

They pull their things inside the shade he has made. Sanctuary, in a harsh part of town in this wealthy city. They scramble inside, and others stumble by, some glancing inside, most stumbling carelessly by, focused on the own pointlessness of their own pointless day.

The guy's legs pop out from the beneath the shelter he has so carefully constructed on this shitty pavement down on Eddy Street. Why go perpendicular, I think from my Ivory Tower, when you can stretch out horizontally?

Then a cop, a young guy with a take-away coffee, he stops and peers properly inside. There are words, a shake of his head. No way, his body language says, no fucking way. You can't do this, you have to move on.

Eventually the guy who built the shelter, he kind of stumbles from his shelter, down on Eddy Street, and he pulls up his trousers and buckles up his belt. Cop leans on the street sign as he waits for these losers to pack up their stuff. The girl finally emerges, shade cloth is pulled down, things thrown into bags as thoughts are shouted, and they get on with their day. Not here, not today.

Not down on Eddy Street.

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