Sunday, May 14, 2006

Sunny Day Music and Crackhead Stories

I have been working at the hostel for almost a week now, and will have my first solo shift Monday morning. Exciting!!! I love working there; it's so much fun to talk to the traveling kids and give directions to the streetcar and stuff. Today I trained with Will again, and we spent our shift listening to this Australian band, Cat Empire, because I requested Sunny Day music, and there is nothing sunnier than wacky Australians bopping along with a brass section.

Later, we exchanged crackhead stories. The area where I work is right off Union Square -- aka Tourist Central of San Francisco -- but also borders the Tenderloin -- aka Sketchball Central of San Francisco -- so there are a lot of colorful characters wandering around. Fun fact: the building that the hostel on Sutter St. is now occupying used to be a crackhouse. Apparently some of the old patrons still come back once in a while to see if there are vacancies/easy access to spoons.

Anyway, today Will told a typical, crackhead-acting-cracked-out story, and then I beat him with my tale from my ride home on Muni the other night. Here's what happened: I was on the bus and a man came on with a big bag full o'stuff and a crazy look in his eye. I actually still can't decide whether he was crazy or on crack -- neither here nor there, I suppose. So the man was sitting there, crazy talkin', and people were starting to move away, but I was on the phone with Karen so I didn't move, even though I was right across the aisle from him. Then, he set into a weird combination of hacking/coughing/barking/spitting/yelling/convulsing that lasted a few minutes longer than was comfortable for everyone. At that point I got off the phone with Karen, just in case I needed to move away from Nutso McDruggie on short notice.

After the coughing fit subsided, the guy suddenly threw himself towards the doors, which were closing, and set off the ear-splitting alarm that happens whenever some idiot tries to exit as the doors are shutting. Unfazed, he set off running down the street, and his pants fell down, giving the rest of us Muni riders a lovely view. We all watched him run towards a parked car, take hold of the windshield wiper, and start to jam it up his nose repeatedly. When Muni started up again, he was still at it, shoving the windshield wiper as far up as it would go, over and over, like he was trying to poke his own brain.

Yikes.

I guess it should be apparent from my recent blog entries that a) there are a lot of disturbed people in this city, and b) I love it anyway. Despite all the skeevy weirdos and creepy crackheads and dangerously psychotic individuals roaming these beautiful streets, I wake up every day happy to be here, looking forward to my next adventure in the city. Each day I take a new bus or walk down a new street or eat in a new greasy-omelette breakfast place, and I am loving discovering all of it.

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