P***ing at the Bus Stop.


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.


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.


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…


…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


One response »

  1. Usually *i’m* the negative one, but for whatever reason (or no reason) this morning i’m seeing good (and something else troubling) in this nominally sad scene.

    What am i seeing?: the father’s body adornments. *Really* liking his nail polish (i used to paint mine now and then, back in the ’80s and ’90s, across the Bay). His jewelry and earrings are nice too. I’m not a fan of nose rings (long, amusing story for another time), though if he is, good for him!

    What else am i seeing?: 5 out of 6 humans (4 pictured + our intrepid blogger) behaving and getting along admirably. Given how lousy humans can be, 83% well-behaved seems pretty good to me.

    The other troubling thing to me is the Disney princess(es) backpack. That evil empire is based not far from where i live. In terms of insane copyright laws, extortion-like sales tactics (in the past especially: limiting supply to force parents to buy now, Now, NOW lest the product(s) be gone and their little ones crushed), and multiple categories of exclusion and self-esteem issue triggering, i believe Disney has done at least as much harm as good. But the little girl is probably all good with them, as i was at her age, so in the bigger picture, maybe not an additional downer.

    From the decaying land of make-believe factories,


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