I saw a man dying in the street…
I saw a man dying in the street yesterday, in San Francisco’s China town. He had a gangrenous leg, so swollen he was unable to wear a shoe. He looked exhausted, he could not even hold his head up.
People were walking by, not giving a damn.
I stared at his leg, red, swollen, covered in cuts and orange pus, and I wished I could take him to a hospital, but I was too scared to touch him.
I should have called 911, but just like everybody else, I ended up walking by.
Why? Were this in France, I would have called the firemen. They always come and take you to the hospital for free.
Why is it more acceptable to die in the streets, in the United States?
Is this the choice we made as a country? To let people die so that we can pay less taxes?
We also say life is sacred… but apparently it’s only sacred until you’re born.
Early in 2011, San Francisco decided to get rid of its paper monthly Muni passes (bus) to replace them with a tag card you can reload every month. I always thought the paper passes were beautiful, and in fact, I started collecting them long before their existence was in jeopardy. This series is an homage to the old, colorful Muni passes.
The shiny, metallic part in the middle was tricky to reproduce and I don’t think I figured it out entirely… I’m going to research ways to perfect that.
Foods Co Story #1 - The Amazing Little Girl
I was in Foods Co late tonight, waiting in line to check out orange juice and waffles for the next morning. In the line, in front of me, was an older couple, a Mexican man in his fifties, wiry with long black greasy hair tied in the back, and his wife or friend, a white-trash semi-overweight woman in her fifties, wearing a dirty members’ only black jacket and equally greasy black hair. She had a cane.
There was a little girl with them, a five-year old, probably too young to be theirs, but likely their daughter’s daugther. The little girl had curly brown hair and big brown eyes with bags under. It was 11PM after all.
Here’s what happened.
The grandparents are about to check out their cartfull of junk when the little girl starts touching some item by the register.
“Don’t touch this” says the grandmother drily. The little girl doesn’t react right away so the grandmother raises her voice. “Don’t touch it I said!” smacking the girl on the shoulder. Then she laughs: “Can’t have that till you’re 21, ha ha.” The grandfather laughs too.
So the little girls steps away from the prohibited item. She doesn’t get what’s so funny about it.
The grandfather starts bagging on the other side of the register. The grandmother stares at the screen; prices adding up to the hundreds.
The little girl is now looking at her reflection in the metal of another register.
“Amazing! screams the grandmother, come over here before I tame you with my shoe!”
So the little girl is called Amazing, I process. And the grandmother is obviously abusive. Why would you call your daughter Amazing if you’re going to treat her like a dog?
Realistically, you would only call your daughter Amazing if you’re the kind of person who’ll treat her with disregard and disrespect, perpetually diminishing her.
The little girl obeys. She comes closer to her grandmother who’s now taking a credit card out of her pocket. The girl looks at me with her tired eyes. I smile at her to show some support, not all adults are hostile is what I’m trying to say, I guess.
She smiles back, sincerely, showing all her teeth.
“What’s your name?” she asks, throwing her head to the back as she hangs from the register.
“My name is Cécile,” I answer, now my turn to ask: “What’s your name?”
“My name is Amazing” she says with worn-out pride.
“That’s a good name” I say, trying to be enthusiastic.
She corrects me: “That’s a cool name.”
“Yes, it’s a cool name.”
Then I added something that I thought would be playful and cute; I asked her:
“Are you amazing?”
Her eyes turned blank. She didn’t answer.
Maybe she thought I was being redundant?
No… she almost looked sad.
She was five, and she wasn’t a fool.
Today, I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge for the first time since I moved to San Francisco, 5 years ago. It was a foggy day, and the fog horn was blowing incessantly. My friends seemed very comfortable with the height and bent over the guard rail to look at the boats under. I kept a conservative distance. My nightmares are about sliding, falling, drowning… I didn’t feel very proud.
On the other side of the bridge, it was brighter. We followed a trail that passed under the bridge and led to a rocky shore, gray sand with gray birds.
There are some beautiful, desert beaches south of San Francisco. We spent a few hours at Gray Whale Cove this afternoon. The water was too cold to bathe, but it’s nice to sit by the sea after a year of non-stop city living. I promise I won’t wait this long until I go to the beach again.