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Mon, 12 Sep 2005


Something I wrote in an email on December 20, 2004, while I was working in San Francisco:

Up here on the 14th floor, it can be hard to make out details at street level.

But sometimes I look out the window on one side of my cube and watch the traffic and pedestrians below on Fremont. Lunch hour is the most fun, because the sun is closest to being overhead and fully illuminates the street.

I just lean forward over my desk a little, and I can see the plaza between First and Fremont, where Subway, Baja Fresh, and McDonald's patrons sit and eat. Shadows stretch from the southwest, leaving the plaza about one third shaded. The pigeons are thick on the concrete, eating the sandwich crumbs from beneath the tables; depending on the weather, anywhere from three to a dozen tables are occupied. Today, people are crowded on the planter box edges in the sun, six-inch subs, Big Macs, and burritos at the ready.

The pigeons meander over the plaza, circling, anticipating the departure of the next diner; they are fat from long dependence on scavenging in the plaza.

The same homeless man, wearing dirty jeans with a rip in the right knee, is in the plaza every day. His face is wrinkled like a chain smoker's. And it's dirty, like a four year old after a hard afternoon playing in the sandbox. His uncombed hair, once black, now sprinkled with gray, hangs in his eyes. Today he sits with his back against the pillared entrance to MacDonald's. He is not thin; rather, he has become fat like the pigeons, relying on the detritus of the city for his sustenance. Remarkably, no one ever seems to stop to leave him any money. Is this because he seems so well fed? Or does his unkempt appearance drive people away?

posted at: 19:30 |

Marc Elliot Hall St. Peters, Missouri 

Page created: 21 January 2002
Page modified: 14 November 2006

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