One cannot go home again. Or, even try.

homelessness-ignor

Back on Gilbert . . . fixing my home after being gone since just before Christmas, 2011.

That’s what the paint can listed as the date of my last paint job. 2011? I thought it had been a couple of years, since I left The City for San Clemente, to help my daughter through a rough patch.

Turned out, it was my rough patch. I leased my house to two dim-witted graduate business majors at Stanford who trashed things so I had to re-paint in August 2012.

Then, lost my job. One that I had thought would last at least one year. All right, keep going. Just keep swimming.

I did. And here I am, 2016. Another business that didn’t work [I am great at marketing for other people. Not so much myself.]

It’s Tuesday morning on Gilbert Street. 6 July 2016. The trash truck is here. Somewhere two sirens are wailing across Brannan. I miss these sounds.

I miss The City. If someone had transported me here while I was sleeping, I wouldn’t know where I was. Candlestick Park is gone. So are the 49ers. Not much is left of my neighborhood. Expo Center is gone . . . where will the Antiquarian Book Faire be held this year? The costumed revelers on New Years? All disappeared.

A homeless encampment is being built as fast and sprawling as new construction towers reach for the sky. The Expo Center has been replaced by a massive box of condos that looks like a Lego set assembled by an Occupational Character Recognition robot. Wait. No San Francisco robot – the place for Flower Power, Herb Caen, Willy Mayes, and leagues of famous and infamous characters, living next to each other – would build an ode to boredom. There would be a triangle or twist somewhere.

Eighth Street and Bryant holds a Mercedes Dealership. There’s a median in the middle of Eighth Street, that holds one homeless person, who gets up long before the Mercedes employees show up, wash the windows and open the doors.

I walked by the dealer last night. A couple, in their early thirties, were finishing up a purchase of a S-Class Maybach. The salesman reached out and shook the man’s hand.

The woman nodded, turned her head toward the middle of the road, anticipating what it would feel like to drive off, surrounded by supple leather.

She looked through the man setting up his garbage bag tent, just a few feet away.

I do not think she saw him.

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