P***ing at the Bus Stop.

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Good Evening:

Having lived in San Francisco 33 years–at least 4 times as long as I’ve lived anywhere else–you may safely conclude that I love this place, and normally, The San Francisco Scene–Seen! tries to stay positive and focus on the interesting, the amusing, the beautiful. Ideally, all three.

But no one can deny that sometimes, San Francisco fails. And I feel that I would lie to you if I didn’t say so.

The bus stop for the 21-Hayes and 19-Polk buses in front of the Orpheum Theater at 8th and Market has become a popular social gathering spot, for lack of a better term, for the homeless who spend their days at the Civic Center. Most of the time, they don’t do anything worse than public inebriation and denying seats to the elderly.

This guy went a little too far.

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I took this first shot because of the conjunction and contrast of the very young schoolgirl standing with a backpack and the passed-out drunk lying on the sidewalk. A contrast of red and pink vs. blue, young vs. old, a girl with a future vs. a man whose best days had passed. Then some sort of commotion began and I thought that maybe I would need to escort the girl from trouble.

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The man had awakened and stuck his left hand down his pants. Obviously the two sitting people looked uncomfortable and I feared that he intended to do something perverse–indecent exposure, perhaps–to the girl. But before I could intervene on her behalf…

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…false alarm. All he wanted to do was urinate. The dark line on the bricks extending from his crotch is a stream of urine.

The African-American person had decamped quickly. I had not seen the gentleman with the hat before (the girl blocks him from view in the previous two pictures).

“What are you doing, man?! Not here, not in front of my little girl! Find a bathroom, man, find an alley, find a tree, whatever, just don’t p*** like that in front of my daughter, man! Come on, sweetie, we’re going to walk down the street a bit. Man, you are disgusting!”

So no need for me to intervene. The father escorted his daughter to a safer location about ten yards away.

I once got in trouble back in Sunday School for asking the nun teaching class something like, “If you say God made us in His image, don’t you hurt His feelings?” So completely forgot about that until now that I didn’t even remember I had forgotten it. Guess I remembered because I can’t even hope to count how many ways this scene represents how many failures on the part of the species known as Homo Sapiens. I apologize if this blog post has upset you, but I respect my readers enough that I have to write the entire story of San Francisco, not just the fun parts.

Vonn Scott Bair

Photo Puzzle for March 2015! (Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral)

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Good Evening:

As much as San Francisco loves murals, they do not last long. 2-6 months represents the normal range of longevity for this ephemeral art. Some construction companies hire artists to paint the temporary wooden walls around building sites because that looks so much better than graffiti. Speaking of graffiti, some murals get painted over after enough taggers disfigure them.

Which brings me to my latest picture puzzle!

First, permit me to present a recent addition to Lafayette Street:

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Now I present a collection of closeups:

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And now, the Challenge: can you locate the closeups within the mural itself?

Have fun.

Vonn Scott Bair

Sunday Afternoon, Lafayette Street near Natoma.

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Good Evening:

Got a little lucky with this one.

Basketball Hope, Lafayette Street, San Francisco, California, 29 March 2015, 1:53 p.m.

Basketball Hope, Lafayette Street, San Francisco, California, 29 March 2015, 1:53 p.m.

Taken with an iPhone 6 Plus, edited in iPhoto.

Vonn Scott Bair

Hopes Burnt on 9th Street. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Ephemeral)

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Good Evening:

Everything in the universe is ephemeral, including the universe. But some things are more ephemeral than others. For humans, sadly, hope ranks among the most ephemeral. A few months ago, somebody had high hopes for this vacant building on 9th Street in San Francisco’s SOMA.

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Today, perhaps, not so much.

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But someone will come along, perhaps the same person, with new hopes for what might replace this burnt-out husk.

And hope will live anew.

Vonn Scott Bair

The World of the Eating & the World of the Hungry in San Francisco’s Civic Center.

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Good Evening:

During a recent Friday lunch hour, I had to run a few errands and that including walking through the food trucks and tables that take over San Francisco’s Civic Center every Friday starting at noon. At one point, I found myself halfway between what felt like separate worlds.

Approximately fifteen feet to my left:

Food Trucks and Court at San Francisco Civic Center

Food Trucks and Court at San Francisco Civic Center

Approximately ten feet to my right:

Broke - Hungry Anything Helps!!! God Bless

Broke – Hungry Anything Helps!!! God Bless

And when I returned after completing my errands:

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I swear it almost looks like worship.

I get why San Francisco has once again become such a fascinating subject for pontificators and opinionators in the pontificating and opinionating industries. No other city combines such a ridiculously high median income ($96,000!) with such visible displays of poverty and hunger. Separate worlds of The Eating and The Hungry, as it were. Also, the disappearing middle class disappears here at a faster rate than most other places in America, as far as I know. I am not a professional journalist, just an amateur observer with a limited perspective, so perhaps other places exist where the contrasts between haves and have-nots is even more spectacular–possibly Wisconsin, for one.

Of course I don’t, can’t, have no right, and absolutely refuse to complain. Although my income is less than two-thirds of San Francisco’s median, I can get by rather well, thank you. I can even retire much earlier than most people, although “retirement” is a misnomer in my case–actors and writers just plain don’t.

But San Francisco’s haves–they have it real good. They can afford Leap, a sort of private public transit system, where for $6 (!), they can ride in a bus where they can spend even more money on Blue Bottle coffee and organic pastries, plus indulge in Leap’s social media component (free cyberstalking with every fare!). Apparently, I am not allowed to ride on Leap. Oh, I can afford the $6; sadly, if the advertising is any indication, Leap is limited to San Franciscans less than 30 years old. Darn it.

On the bright side, if I had a car, I could hire someone to park it.

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Oops, wait–looks like I’m too old for this one, too. Darn it.

While I understand the importance of a healthy, stable, preferably even growing middle class, and while I understand the potential economic harm to America resulting from an ever-shrinking middle class, I wonder at all of the attention we middle-class folk have received. Should circumstances ever become economically impossible for me to continue living in San Francisco, I have options–Los Angeles being an obvious choice for someone who already has 15 or so credits in the Internet Movie Database. I have resources.

In the world of The Hungry, people don’t have resources.

San Francisco has seen an explosion in the number of homeless, and I don’t think it can all consist of other states exporting their mentally ill to my city. Again, I’m not a professional journalist, and I don’t have facts, figures and statistics, but a lot of the newly homeless who set up homeless encampments at night in places like the block on Market Street near 2nd Street (in our Financial District) must have recently lost their homes in San Francisco and had no place to go.

The American middle class is in danger of losing their financial well-being. But what of the people who already have?

When does that become an issue?

Vonn Scott Bair

Civic Center Farmers Market, 22 March 2015. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh)

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Good Afternoon:

Nothing says fresh quite like the local farmers market. Went down today for Yukon potatoes (for Kimchi Smashed Potatoes), plus broccoli, zucchini, and carrots for my week’s lunches at work.

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But I could not resist the strawberries.

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And who could blame me?

A few other pictures from today’s visit.

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The Civic Center Farmers Market remains one of my favorite places in San Francisco; aside from the very nice prices on produce that 12 hours ago grew on a farm, you get to see, meet and greet a tremendous variety of people.

Vonn Scott Bair

San Francisco Saturday Afternoon, 21 March 2015. (Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh)

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Good Evening:

A fresh collection of photos of San Franciscans at work and play on Saturday. Even the subjects of some of these have a sort of fresh theme. For example, these gentlemen started this project only this morning:

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And of course we have fresh love…

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…fresh flowers…

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…and a fresh coat of paint.

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This gentleman played guitar very well, but “When You Wish Upon a Star” probably doesn’t count as fresh.

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But this is the freshest Eclair Bandersnatch I’ve seen in a while. He/She/They tried some new ideas in this one, including backgrounds (green and yellow) and comic dialogue. I like it; personally, I think E. B. keeps getting better and better.

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And a few more shots just for fun, including a fresh mural in progress at Haight & Fillmore.

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Vonn Scott Bair