Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Guy on the Corner

I share the corner of Taylor and Ellis, where Glide is located, with a remarkable patch-work quilt collection of humanity: staff, clients, congregants, tourists, the homeless and the strung-out.  After a year and a half, I've come to recognize the "regulars" and note the tell-tale signs of a tourist (it has less to do with their camera and everything to do with their clothes--most people come to SF expecting warm weather and wind up buying SF sweatshirts).

One man, in particular, is someone I always look for. Graying hair and beard and in a dirty white coat, he is a ghostly presence on the corner.  Sometimes I pass him, asleep alongside the building. Other days, he is sitting on a planter, talking to an unseen companion. Still on other occassions, he is standing in the middle of the road, shouting and gesturing like a fiery preacher.

Today, I realized he hasn't been around for a while.  We have been passing each other daily for 18 months, and I can't recall when I last saw him on the corner.  What was it about today that made me realize that he was gone?  How long has he been gone?

I don't even know his name.

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