As recently mentioned, I am in San Francisco. Much about this city is lovely; the gorgeous bays, the dramatic hills, the temperate climes.
Something quite unlovely, though, is the simultaneously heart-breaking and disgusting parade of humanity living on the streets.
I am staying at a modest hotel about four blocks from our playing site. Though I enjoy a brisk walk prior to playing bridge and to unwind in the evening, my jaunt is restricted in the evening.
Legions of humans live on the sidewalk. They range from the vacant-looking people who hold a modest sign: "Vet; please help" to the amusing "Family abducted by aliens; need money for tae chi" to the grotesque... filthy, starving humans missing limbs and eyes who haunt you if you forget to keep your eyes focused upward.
The smell of people frequently using the public sidewalks for a restroom adds to the decay of the scene.
My guess is that the vast majority of these people are either seriouslly mentally disturbed, addicted, or both.
What to do about them?
If I were king, one partial solution is to build more hospitals for the mentally ill, and at least keep some of these folks clean and safe. For the rest? I'd get them off the sidewalks. It cannot be right for the general populace to have to be subject to scary, gross people while they walk to stores, work or their bridge tournament.
Would some of these people die if they were removed from this location? Maybe. Some; definitely.
I am hard-hearted? Oh, no. When I said "heartbreaking" - I meant it. I think of friends and family I have known throughout my life with horrible challenges. I look at these shells of humans, and think "for the grace of God, there goes ....fill in the blank."
If you are looking for simple, straightforward solutions for this snapshot of despair, you will not find it here. I wish I knew the answers; I do not.
And yes; it makes me long for my own Minnesota city, where frigid winter temperatures makes this social issue rare. Thank goodness.