I met up with a friend near Japantown today for lunch, and after nearly four hours of catching up on all that’s happened in our lives in the last 1.5 years since we’d last seen each other, I decided that since the weather was decent, I’d walk all the way back to downtown. In retrospect, while I enjoyed the extra exercise, especially since I hadn’t had a real workout since leaving New York last week, the walk… was anything but pleasant. There was trash and graffiti on almost every block I walked. If there wasn’t much trash and graffiti, then there was definitely a strong smell of human urine and poop. Every block I walked, I had to watch where I was stepping because there was literally human waste everywhere. It was most definitely not dog poo. While walking through streets in the Tenderloin and downtown, there were at least half a dozen, if not more, homeless people sitting or standing around, some even leaning against cars and private property.
The most disgusting sight I witnessed though, was a homeless man who probably had at least a gallon’s worth of urine in him. He was strategically going from one private building entrance to another, all next door to each other, to piss right into each of their entry ways and all over their gates. I ended up crossing the street to avoid him, not knowing whether he might decide to come and try to piss all over ME.
When I met him with Chris for dinner and told him what I saw, he seemed completely unfazed and indifferent. “This is your city,” he responded.
I just felt defeated. Every single time I come back here, I feel even more gross and as though I do not recognize this place at all. And I wonder what, if anything, can be done to save this city from itself.