Since moving into my 9th floor studio apartment almost three years ago I’ve had a front row seat to the infamous putrid Tenderloin circus that roils below. A hodgepodge of crippled cavemen, deformed hookers, and drug-addled human trash that shuffle up and down the soiled sidewalks every day looking for pills or a cozy place to puke; scraping the cement cracks for cigarette butts or anything combustible enough to throw in a pipe. You know when you leave a dog to it’s own devices in the backyard for an afternoon it will inevitably manage to roll around in it’s own shit? Well that’s like the people in my neighborhood… but let’s not be silly, even dogs clean themselves, a trivial concept for a community of drug addicts all suffering from methadone-relaxed anuses.
The 9th floor. San Francisco 2014
This degree of squalor and human sludge wouldn’t fly in a war torn suburb of Yemen let alone in any community in America. However, San Francisco is the most liberal city in the USA and this somehow translates to a tolerance and understanding of a crack smoker’s right to urinate and explode his bowels over every square-inch of my neighborhood while the police sit in their cruisers hypnotized by the glow of their iphones, trading seeds on Farmville.
In the span of three years I have witnessed multiple assaults, 4 large apartment fires, countless shouting matches, 1 shooting, a store owner throwing fruit at a dealer on the corner, some drunk slapping his old lady around, CPR being performed on a junkie, and every night the trash is put out on the curb the troglodytes empty it looking for something to salvage… and there I am in the nosebleed section, 9 floors up, watching it all unfold night after night – usually after 2am because meth heads tend to get a late start on their day.
The building I live in is an old renovated 1930’s high-rise. The windows are still the original ones from 80 years prior, they swing wide open and if one were so inclined could fit a television or medium sized teenager through the large opening they provide – no screens, no stops; they certainly wouldn’t prevent anyone from throwing butter, stale tortillas or avocado pits out of them in order to fight some street crime. Around midnight, as the drunken Neanderthals climb out of their burrows, I’m up in my Texas School Book Depository gathering fuzzy strawberries and mold stricken boiler potatoes armed and ready to inflict swift justice on the approaching motorcade of tweekers.
So far I’m proud to say that I’ve broken up 2 fights with butter and mandarins. And hopefully word will spread throughout the Homo-Erectus community not to venture down my block after dark.