Thursday, September 16, 2004

Fun with Crazy People
As many of you are aware, our fair City by the Bay is home to a significant population of the mentally ill and destitute—noticeably more than one is apt to encounter even while living in New York, or anywhere else. Occasionally, in addition to evoking pity, pathos, frustration, anger, and sadness, this situation makes for entertaining vignettes!

  • Location: 4th St., between Folsom & Harrison. A coworker and I are returning from our early-mid-morning coffee run, when a barefoot, blank-stared waif walking toward us looks up from the sidewalk and asks, “Can I have your coffee?”

    “No,” I answer, and we pass each other at full speed. I appreciated her directness, though.

  • Location: 3rd St., between Mission & Howard. Heading back to the office from lunch, I suddenly hear someone say into their cell phone, with some agitation, “I wanna talk to Bea Arthur!”

    ‘Wow,’ I think to myself, ‘this is one phone conversation worth overhearing.’ But when I look for the source of this outburst I notice that the man who wants to talk to Ms. Arthur, although going through the motions of talking on the phone, is actually speaking to his empty hand. What strange and terrible Golden Girls-era trauma resulted in the adoption of this unfortunate fellow’s paranoiac figure of choice, I wonder?

  • Location: Everywhere. This is slightly off-topic, but C-Baby recently suggested classifying Christianity as a low-level group psychiatric disorder. I’m inclined to agree with her, although getting all those people into treatment is going to be a daunting task. And no, they can’t have my coffee.