homeless man Hot Dog Days My San Francisco Chronicles observation Work Diaries

Cat Peddler and Mustard/Mayonnaise.

So over the course of my workdays, I have noticed certain homeless people hovering around the cart. I’m guessing in the past they have had run-ins with the cart, so now they know not to tread too closely.

Anyway, yesterday and today I worked the cart in front of Macy’s, and have found myself amused by the “cat peddler”. I’ve seen it and its owner around before; saw them back in March when I first started working. Basically, what appears to be a cat begging for money is actually its owner being “clever” and placing the cat with its catbed and a dish for money. Oblivious people walk by, see the cat, feel pity, and drop some money. Only after they drop the money do they realize that the owner had been standing by the whole time–he usually says “Thank you” after the people give money to the cat.

The past two days, I’ve noticed not as many people falling for the trick. Either people have just been overlooking the cat or they have caught onto the cat owner’s trick. To me, the guy who owns the cat doesn’t look TOO bad off–perhaps he is homeless, but he doesn’t look the part really. He just looks lazy to me–maybe low-income, but not homeless. I rarely notice when he arrives at his “reserved spot”–he comes in like a ninja most of the time.

Anyway, that’s one observation I’ve made over the past two days. Today, I was “introduced” to another “regular” homeless; the girl walked up to me and asked me for four mayonnaise packets and four mustard packets. She seemed a little doped out in some way, but I wasn’t sure–but anyway, that was all she asked for; didn’t ask for free food. She asked me if I was new, so that probably meant that she’s been around the carts a bit, too.

Last but not least, I think there’s either a homeless or crazy (or both) guy who runs around cursing/yelling. Sounds like he has Tourette’s Syndrome. I heard him this morning yelling obscenities about how “Americans should own America, etc. etc.” and he kept saying the f-bomb. I had noticed him before around another cart; at first glance, I thought he was just a normal guy walking around with his wife/girlfriend. But then I noticed him yelling loudly and cursing constantly, and that made me realize “Ooh….something not right with him.” Meanwhile, the whole time he’s yelling/cursing, his female partner walks beside him calmly, either because she’s embarrassed and doesn’t know how to control him, or she’s so used to him now that she’s become oblivious to his actions.

I’m sure there are other more interesting characters around, but I haven’t encountered them yet.