Back in Brighton feeling jet lagged from two days flying, 1st to New York and then to the UK.
Thinking about San Francisco, about Jimmy selling the Street Sheet.
Saturday 24th September: we’re in a queue waiting to pay for a snack. Outside I watch a man, maybe in his late 40s, it’s difficult to tell, but with that same weathered face, ragged clothes, carrier bags. He rummages through the bin next to the door, extracts an open box, rams the remnants of a burger into his mouth, walks away. People sitting in the cordoned area around the cafe eat, talk.
Jimmy’s standing in a doorway next to the cafe selling the Street Sheet. We talk.
‘I ain’t homeless. Not me. Just selling this to help them, help the homeless.’
We talk about life on the street, about the number of people we’ve seen in wheelchairs, the number of amputees.
‘Been here twenty six years. Too long. I’m from Newark, Newark New Jersey, been here too long. Going back the Newark next month, can’t take this place no more. Y’see Newsom? He ain’t done nothing for the homeless. I ain’t staying here.’
The suggested donation for the Street Sheet is $1. I buy a paper. He wants to give me two.
‘Here, one for the lady too. No, here, take it take it.’
And I have to. We talk about the L law.
‘Lying, sitting? That don’t do nothing. L, what’s that do for the homeless. what’s Newsom done with this stopping folks lying, sitting on the street? They don’t do nothing for the homeless. You get fined, they’re on the streets, how they gonna pay the fine?’
We talk some more, and then he wanders off and I go back to my coffee, my salad.