What I Didn't Like About San Francisco

Despite the fact that San Francisco is a beautiful city, like any place, it has its warts and I noticed some of them.

The biggest wart was all the homeless people. They congregated around the beautiful and expensive hotel where we stayed. Several had their dogs at their feet and others were smoking. Feeding a pet and smoking are expensive habits. I suspect the dog does help keep someone who is sleeping outside warm and is good protection.

And speaking of sleeping outside, when I left on Sunday at 5 a.m., I saw someone asleep on the sidewalk in front of a bank. Other homeless had already been rousted from their doorways because of the heavy police presence as streets were being barricaded because of a marathon. How did I recognize the homeless people? Because of the shopping carts filled with their worldly possessions.

When my roommate and I walked back to our hotel at 10 p.m. from Chinatown, garbage overflowed all the trash bins. Of course there were poor folks searching through the trash--and we saw a young woman with a shopping cart loaded with cans and even had bags of cans tied onto the cart.

While we toured the city in cable car busses, we passed several groups of demonstraters shouting and waving signs. One group protested the slaying of dolphins in Japan--not sure how they thought this would affect that situation. Another group surrounded the federal building. Their protest was concerning the war in Afghanistan. Again, not sure how this could possible change what is happening about that war. And there was one more group of noisy protesters, but I was unable to see the sign. If I spotted three on a morning tour of the city, I wonder how many more might have been going on in other areas.

The wonderful views, the interesting buildings and homes all attached to each other, the Painted Ladies, Fisherman's Wharf, lush parks with waterfalls, huge museums and much, much more, far outweighed anything that I didn't like.

I'd never be able to live there--in the first place I couldn't afford anything where I'd want to live and secondly, I could never get in and out of the tiny garages or drive on those hilly streets.



Jackie Vick said…
I've heard from some there are plenty of services available and the people on the street don't want to live by the rules of the shelter. I've also heard that shelters are scary, and not someplace you want to spend the night. Then there are those who are mentally ill. Funny about the protesters. C.S. Lewis's Screwtape suggested his tempter nephew get people to care about intangible and far away causes and feel good about those rather than care about the people close to them that they could actually help--like these homeless. Lewis is genious.
Jackie Vick said…
It's early and I can't spell. Sorry about that!
Jackie, what a good point about the faraway causes. It was interesting to me that people I was walking or riding with never saw the warts.

Anonymous said…
Marilyn, I had no idea things were that bad in San Francisco. It makes me sad to think about it. My memory is a little hazy but I seem to recall homeless people camping out in the old train/bus station, which I believe San Francisco closed down. Maybe that is what put them on the streets??
Pat Browning
Pat, I don't think most people even noticed. When I walked around with my roommate it was like she didn't see any of what I was seeing. We both went on the same tour and she didn't notice the demonstrations. I'm observant, always have been, part of being a writer, at least for me.


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