These are the cold and gloomy and rainy and hard wet San Francisco nights and days when I remember and think about people like Ryan and his girlfriend, Brisa. We talked back in September, after his tallness and her shortness caught my attention when I was out with the pooch.
They couldn’t have been nicer. And they were so chill. They were keeping busy by cleaning the corner of Eddy & Franklin they had spotted for the night and, as we were chatting, I remembered: It was Thursday afternoon. The alley next to us had been hosting (and still is…on the next block down the street, on account of the construction on Van Ness) these amazing activations whereby members of our public-health agencies can directly connect with our brothers and sisters on the streets, and offer them food, a pathway to health, a break. Some warmth.
Ryan must have thought I was crazy. I made him run with me, like we were on The Amazing Race, to check if it was still going.
It wasn’t. But I made sure to ask and repeat they keep the following Thursday top of mind. Both Brisa and he had expressed that they wanted to get off the street, that they don’t do drugs (they avoid certain alleys because they see other folks doing or selling or buying drugs), and that they try to be as unobtrusive as possible.
I saw them again the next morning. They were at it again, cleaning. I told them I’d talked to one of the stakeholders from the activations with whom I’ve become familiar, and she had said to mention Hospitality House on Leavenworth.
I hope Ryan and Brisa are alive and well tonight.