There are two other fascinating San Francisco people I forgot to mention in my last post! Minima reminded me of one... He was another man that we saw while walking through the Tenderloin. He was shirtless and his pants were falling down almost all the way off his ass, revealing his poofy white underwear. He was dancing and singing with utter glee. I think he was one of the happiest looking people I've ever seen.
The other fascinating encounter happened in the Mission. Minima and I were eating at a Mexican restaurant with another friend of ours. A homeless man came into the restaurant and walked right up to our table. He stretched his hands out toward our friend's burrito and tried to take it. She managed to hold onto it, but she and Minima had to tell the man, "No!" several times. As I watched this taking place, I felt very strange. I felt frozen and unsure of what to do, and I just sat there watching stupidly. My brain was sending mixed signals. I felt sort of stunned by the situation. In Seattle, I've seen people ask for someone's food, but I've never seen anyone try to wrest food away from someone's hands. But I also felt really bad for the man. He was bedraggled and pitiful. I felt guilty for having more than enough to eat every day.
I felt this complicated mess of emotions quite often while walking around San Francisco. There are homeless people all over the city, most of which look to be in pretty bad shape. I felt ignorant and naive when I encountered them. I don't know what their stories are. I don't know if I am a sucker feeling too much pity, or if I am a privileged person not feeling enough. It really bothers me when I encounter situations like this that I can't sort out. It haunts me now.