Barry’s Replacement

Ever since Barry died on me, i’ve been in the market for a replacement homeless person.

Not that Barry’s easy to replace.  I mean, i do have my standards, and his replacement can’t be foaming-at-the-mouth crazy, dead drunk, oscillating on meth, etc.  Which, alas, rules out quite a few of the homeless although i do not mean to suggest that the others don’t deserve compassion but rather that charity works better for me if i can actually have a conversation with the recipient.

Not that Edward Smith wouldn’t be a suitable replacement for Barry, especially since for many years i’ve been buying the Street Sheet from Edward at his post in front of the Walgreens on Divisadero off 24th Street.  But see, i can’t really write about Edward now since he just made the front page of the Noe Valley Voice, and damn them for scooping me.

Fortunately, there are plenty of articulate street people to choose from in San Francisco, and i’ve been interviewing neighborhood candidates since i moved to my new home.

And i’ve come up with Daniel.  Been talking to him regularly since he fairly often hangs out at the corner of Laguna and Market, and i see him often enough that i now recognize his cart.

Last Saturday i was whizzing up Market home from the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market, and out of the corner of my eye saw a hand waving as i passed a homeless pile in a doorway a block north of my corner.  The hand triggered a recognition that it was Daniel’s stuff, so i took the first sidewalk cut and rolled back down.

He was huddled between his cart and the building obviously ill and asking for water.  So i rolled over to Nick’s grocery down the street and got him bottles of water and Gatorade.  Talked to him and realized just how very sick he was, so i told him that with his permission i’d go home and see if i could track down some kind of medical help for him.  He was so sick that he agreed.

Well, it took a while since it’s not easy to track down stuff in the tangled web of the bureaucracy, but after Googling around and visiting some sites and calling various numbers i finally got ahold of some nice people at the SF Homeless Outreach Team  through a number (415-734-4233) not listed on their website that goes directly to a real person who can help by dispatching a medical team.

They did.

And three days later, Daniel was back on the street with the good news that they had not only fixed the medical problem, which turned out to be not as serious as it had looked, but also helped him get on a waiting list for some housing.  I later learned that the above number is not manned 24/7 and that an alternative in case of medical emergency is to call either the SFPD non-emergency number (415-553-0123) or simply 311.

I saw him this morning and asked if i could write about him, and he responded, “Hell, you can exploit me and pimp me out!”  I explained that neither of those appealed to me, since pimping folks out had never been one of my pleasures and my days of exploiting men, women, and beasts were in the distant past.

But here’s a photo.


Oh, i just gave him those beads that had been tossed at me last night by some Mardi Gras revelers.


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