Forgotten men and street people

Pike treats his girlfriend lousy, almost like they're already married, and not in a good way. Can't hear the words through the door, but I heard some of it before closing the door and turning up the music.

His tone of voice is Archie Bunker, but I don't think Pike is even twenty years old. How does a man get so aggravated, so young? She is a little aggravating, definitely, and she's yelling back at him, but 'yelling back' isn't quite the right term — it implies that I know who started it, and I don't. Also, I don't care.

All I know for sure is, I'd rather sleep alone 365 nights a year than have whatever those two have, where they're lovebirds sometimes but nightly it's verbal karate. It's depressing, man. And if it's depressing for me, what is it for them?

I not going to play marriage counselor. It's none of my damned business. If they ever get violent I'll bean 'em both with a frying pan, but so long as they're just yelling, I'll turn my music a little louder, as loud as it gets. I prefer it when they fuck instead of get furious, but my real preference would be that she goes home instead of hanging out here all the time.

♦ ♦ ♦

Clouds inside, but outside at last it was a day of sunshine. Ordinarily I wouldn't much care about the weather — I'm no outdoorsman — but when I'm standing in it, dry is better than drenched. Today I even went without my jacket under that silly cape.

My spiel, though, as I try to get people to take the shop's flyers — "Delightful new shop upstairs.. exotic gifts… unusual apparel… reasonably priced… up the stairs…" — seems to be getting stale. Fewer people are going up the stairs. Fewer people are even taking the shop's flyers when I try giving them away. Had a guy this afternoon recite my whole shtick to me, before I could say it to him.

It's fun for me, standing it the green cape and hawking the shop, but I imagine it gets old if you live or work in the neighborhood. 

After work, I spoke with LeeAnn and Stevi about their flyer strategy. Seems to me, nine out of ten people on the sidewalk in front of the shop are very local — meaning, they live or work in this neighborhood, so by now I've handed them the flyer, and they know there's a shop on the second floor. If they're interested, they've already been upstairs.

I'd get better results for the shop, I think, if I was flyering on Castro Street every day — bigger crowds, only a few blocks away, and I wouldn't always be re-flyering the same people. LeeAnn and Stevi said they'd think about it.

♦ ♦ ♦

Something else about working on the sidewalk on Market Street — I'm getting to know the local homeless, by face and demeanor if not yet by name.

There's a sad old woman who never says a word, just walks up and down the sidewalk all day — going northeast, and then fifteen minutes later going southwest, sometimes on the shop's side of Market, and sometimes across the street.

There's a black guy who walks in traffic instead of on the sidewalk, almost asking passing cars to hit him.

There's a ranting man, babbling incessantly, sometimes about movies. He smiles at me now, because last week he said something about Sergio Leone, and I responded by singing the screeching opening lines of the theme from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

There's a young white woman, pretty and clean enough that you could mistake her for an ordinary dyke in jeans, if she wasn't always muttering to herself and walking nowhere in a hurry and always wearing the same shirt.

And of course, there are more. Always more homeless people. It's the American way. Hope I have the green-cape job long enough to get to know more of them, too.

When I lived downtown, I got to know several beggars and bums, and most of them I liked. You get less bullshit from someone who lives on the street, than from someone who wears a necktie.

Haven't yet seen many homeless folks in the neighborhood where I'm living now. It might be too rough for them there, and nobody on my block has any spare change. Walk a block or two toward Mission or Valencia, and you'll see the homeless there.

'Forgotten men', they called them in My Man Godfrey. Always thought that was kinder and more poetic than 'homeless'.

From Pathetic Life #10
Friday, March 24, 1995

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life 

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