Saturday, April 10, 2010
San Francisco's Market Street was sunny and full of people. Everyone was in good spirits, the pale tourists, the suits chattering into their bluetooths, the hipsters in ill-fitting clothes. I sat and drank my coffee on a stone bench that circled back around a pillar of vegetation. In a paper bag beside me I had a peanut butter cookie that I was breaking pieces off. A crazy woman, blonde and raggedy and mute sat down beside me and I picked up the cookie. She gave me a look of theatrical affront -- as though I had accused her of trying to steal my cookie. She stood up, shook her matted hair out from her bandana and slowly circled the bench looking around but always returning to me with her look of affront. I ignored her mostly. Finally, she stopped few feet away and poured a splash of coffee onto the sidewalk. She giggled and skipped away as a dozen ratty pigeons arrived. They gathered in front of me, walking even under my legs, tilted heads staring upward with their little reptile eyes and leaving dime-sized dollops of pigeon shit beside my feet. I put the remainder of my cookie back on the bench. The woman left, but the pigeons didn't.