The Bums of San Francisco
I’ve visited San Francisco regularly for decades and I know that the City by the Bay takes great pride in their bums. Their rights to stink, urinate on sidewalks, harass and panhandle are protected by law, and the city goes to great lengths to feature them for the tourists.
I was recently at a large computer conference, and despite their best efforts, there was a distinct shortage of bums in San Francisco.
The streets of San Francisco are covered with streams of urine and you can see the piss-trail where bums piss in the doorways and it dribbles across the sidewalk and into the curb, quite charming . . .
Our dog (Noel) was anazed that in San Francisco, people mark their territory too, and she went nuts checking her pee-mail from the bums:
One of my favorite blogs is Lewis Cunningham, and I loved his remark that “Boutique” is French for “Piece of crap”! Lewis Cunningham obviously does not understand the inherent "French" appeal of the San Francisco bums, who try so hard to be loveable and endearing to tourists:
"I was accosted a couple of times but managed to run away screaming like a girl. Err, I mean I gave them all of my lunch money. Err, I mean I stared them down. ;-)Actually there was one large crazy guy. I'm not sure if he really was crazy or was just acting like it but I gave him my last fifty cents.
Since I gave away my last fifty cents I was not able to buy any crack from the dealers that offered along the way nor was I able to contribute to the scholarship funds of some nice women that I met along the way."
Ah, what a colorful town . . .
B. O. Plenty
Oh, and these bums Stink to high-heaven, forgoing bathing until they smell like French cheese. Janet and I were at a sidewalk café when B.O. Plenty comes-up and interrupts us, basically offering to go-away in-return for a handout.
I remembered Harvard Psychologist Roger Brown’s amazing book “Social Psychology” and his research that showed how panhandlers maximize their revenue with “props”:
- Fake wheelchairs – People feel sorry for cripples, and I saw load of bums rolling-out their wheelchairs, unfolding them and sitting down for a day of begging.
- Urgency – Bums have fake handkerchiefs with a blood-like substance and they hit-up their marks, saying that they were attacked and need $20 to get to the hospital.
- Cute animals – Many bums have puppies and kittens, a surefire way to gain sympathy.
They often offer to "work" for money, but when I tried to offer one a job, he snubbed me!
The bum came up and asked for a "nickel". I want something in-return for my cash, and I said that I would give him five dollars if he would entertain me by barking like a dog. He refused my offer!
Pooper-Scoopers for Hobo's
I was walking through the tenderloin and I saw a bum drop-trou, squat and take a steaming dump on someone’s entryway. Gee, if San Francisco loves their bums so much, you would think that they would give the dogs pooper-scoopers for the bums.
San Francisco - City of Tolerance
As a smoker, I don’t understand why people call Californians tolerant. Sure, the bums can smoke pot, pee freely and stink to high heaven, but smokers are relegated to the "leper colony" on the sidewalks.
(one of my favorite technical bloggers, Peter K, says he saw me in exile, but he didn't even stop to say "Hi").
Exiled to the streets, I can to appreciate my talented hobo friends. Sometimes, they do celebrity impersonations, like this fellow:
Of course, not everyone is sophisticated enough to appreciate the appeal of the San Fransisco street bums.