Rohit's Realm

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April 28, 2006

Mission to The Mission

As many steadfast readers of must have noticed, it's been a while since I wrote a compelling piece accosting the scourge of our society, the cancer that threatens to destroy us all slowly, painfully, unrelentingly -- dirty, crazy, drugged out bums. Fortunately, Brandon has stepped up, complementing my somnolence with three separate entries discussing the repulsive behavior of said scourge. Today, my much cherished sabbatical from the odious world of the bottom rung was brought to an abrupt and revolting end, when I went to pick up some sensitive documents for work in the Mission District.

The only half-joking comments from my Marina-residing co-workers regarding my safety aside, I wasn't particularly concerned about going to the Mission District, despite its reputation for fostering an amicable environment for the city's alternative element. In case you were wondering, by alternative, I am referring to the enigmatic mixture of interesting (like Telegraph Ave. interesting) folks who blur the line between poser rich kids slumming in hipster-chic, fighting their own personal battle against the very capitalistic society that funds their parents' six-figure salaries (and consequently, their drug habits), and the outright crazy assholes who should probably be locked up, or at the very least, banished to an island far far away (think St. Helena). Having lived on Telegraph Avenue and often pranced (sic) through the Mission at night with a sense of invincibility wrought with inebriation, I was confident I would survive this nominal daytime venture. Sometimes confidences are misplaced; this was one of those times.

Initially, everything was looking good. My taxi driver got me to my destination in 15 minutes, I was able to gather the said documents without trouble, and then, I set about the task of getting back to the office. I walked to 20th and Mission, hoping to find a cab and be back in the office in time for my next meeting. It was a hot, sunny day. The four blocks I had already walked in my overcoat had left me sweaty and irritable. Unfortunately, no cabs were to be found. After waiting several minutes, the pungent odor of beer, sweat, and urine began making me nauseous. I walked up the street, being careful to avoid the feces on the sidewalk that one could only hope an animal -- and not a human -- had produced. At 18th / Mission, I hit a red light and stopped.

At the corner, behind me was a cracked out bum who was alternately twitching uncontrollably and doing a dance that I would describe as washing your hair while rotating your hips and thrusting your pelvis (ask me to demonstrate it sometime). Next to me was a young woman who looked decidely out of place; almost as out of place as me, with my slacks, dress shirt and shoes, and an overcoat. Suddenly, the bum stopped his futile washing of hair and stared me down:

Hair-washing Bum (HWB): You prissy motherfucker. You're from the Marina, ain't ya? (cackling)
Rohit: Ignores HWB
HWB: The Marina ain't shit! You hear me, boy?! The Marina ain't shit! (turns around and resumes hair-washing dance)
Woman: (to me) You really aren't from around here, are you?
Rohit: (to her) No, neither are you, right?
Woman: Not exactly. I go to Berkeley. I'm out here for a research project I'm working on.

What a coincidence! But before I could reach for a business card and offer her anything she wanted, HWB started orbiting us, while simultaneously rotating in circles, doing his hair-washing dance; he was the moon to our earth. Each time he completed a cycle around his internal axis, he would yell Fuck the Marina! After two such orbits, I was starting to wonder why the hell the stoplight cycles were so damn long in the Mission and decided to clarify that I was in fact not a resident of the Marina and moreover, that this fact should have been abundantly clear by the color of my skin. Just as I was about to pipe up, HWB suddenly stopped, turned, vomited into the street, and collapsed on a nearby parked car.

Ugh. Without a second thought, I bid the woman next to me adieu, leapt into the street, and headed as fast as possible to the 16th/Mission BART station. I had had enough of the Mission for the day. As I was speed-walking away, I could only think of two things: God, I hope I didn't get splashed by any vomit and That sucks for the guy who owns that car. I can't imagine what I would do if I returned to my car to find a deplorable bum passed out on it. I'm sure a baseball bat would be involved though.

Concluding remarks? Enough is enough! I say it's time for some good old-fashioned vigilante justice. It's time to stop lamenting in complacence. We might not have a St. Helena in the Bay Area, but we do have an Alcatraz. Ladies and gentlemen, prepare your nets; steady your tasers; it's bum-exiling time!


All that and you didn't get the girl's phone number. Sounds like the person you hate is Rohit.

2 related and complementary stories:

1.) Recently my former roommate, while waiting at a bus stop on Wilshire and Veteran in Los Angeles, was licked on the face by a homeless women with a mustache. She followed this expression of physical attraction by telling him, "you and I should rent a little time share in Ft. Lauderdale... Mmmmmmm!" [licks mustache seductively]. Like yourself, my ex-roomie also failed to get the girl's number.

2.) Last night, outside a liquor store in Washington DC, a homeless man asked me for a dollar so that he could buy a government issued ID and appropriately apply for a job. A dubious story at best, and one I called him out on. He threw out his arms in an exclamatory gesture of "you got me!" [ehhhhh!] At least, that is how I interpreted the gesture. Apparently I'm not functionally fluent in the language of "body," as his demonstrative arm flailing turned out to be the incipient movement toward a full body hug... one which I did not expect. I had planned to go out for drinks that night, but went home to shower instead. Sweet.

Very true. I did indeed fail to get the girl's phone number. I think (1) takes the cake though. I didn't realize LA bums were that bad ...

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