Rainy Sunday Morning Surprise


I am too cheap to pay $3.00 for a newspaper carrier to deliver the San Francisco Sunday Chronicle. Yes, I am a dinosaur. I still read physical newspapers, eight per week.

When I discovered that I was being charged $6.00 for a $3.00 paper, I stopped my Sunday subscription and started picking it up myself. That has worked out well as long as I go early before it sells out.  It has fit this pandemic since no one shops on Sunday mornings. It’s a great time to buy groceries.

My goal is to get to the store by 9:00. This morning, it was finally raining. We Californians are relieved. We lost 4 million acres to fire in 2020.

2020. What a year. 

I put on my face mask, bought my apples, bananas, pudding and newspaper, and then headed to the bank to deposit a check. I wanted to do it at Wells Fargo with its covered ATMs, but I didn’t have that debit card with me, so I went to Bank of America, where I was out in the elements getting cash and depositing the check.

One more stop to the library to drop off a book I had finished and then home. Instead of pulling into the parking lot, I parked on Front Street and walked the 50 yards to the library book drop box, in the rain. I was thinking about my plugged-up ears and my plugged-up throat (from acid reflux) that made it hard to tell the bagger at the store that I wanted a bag. 

I didn’t see him until I stepped into the front door alcove and up to the drop box. A guy, on the concrete, in a sleeping bag, tucked into the corner.

“Oh, you startled me!” I said.

“Good morning,” the young guy said. “How was the book?”

I dropped it into the drop box and said, “It was great!”

As I turned to leave, I noticed he was on his laptop, which was plugged into an outdoor wall socket. He had  a teddy bear next to him.

“Oh, it’s great that you have power,” I said.

He laughed and wished me a good day.

As I walked the 50 yards back to my car in the rain, I thought, wow, I should go buy him a coffee. What a cold place to sleep. But at least it’s dry.

And how smart of him to do it on a Sunday when the library won’t open for hours. And why are so many people homeless right now?

Oh yeah. 2020. Pandemic.

Crap! I wasn’t wearing a mask. Of course, he wasn’t wearing one, either.

I would’ve seen him if I had come from the parking lot.  I would’ve seen his dark sleeping bag. Would I have approached him or turned around?

As I was driving home, still sort of surprised to have happened upon a homeless guy in my affluent town of super-educated people, I thought, I should have given him some money. I had a wad of cash in my jeans pocket from the bank.

I pulled onto the deserted freeway as a shortcut for home.

Wow, now I have a blog post for tomorrow.

That’s the only thought I acted upon.

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