Last night at Manny’s Community Center stayed past the Major event which was Manny interviewing a Panel of Experts on SF Homelessness.
Last event was presentation by young guy named Vince who has become famous of late for picking up trash on his own and urging others to do same.
I’d been doing same thing for couple of years in Clarion Gallery Alley and along the Valencia Business Corridor from my place on corner at 14th and Valencia on down to Clarion whose Western exit is across from Mission Police place.
Been enduring death threats from occasional gang banger.
Owner of Muddly Waters came out and told me to stop cleaning out trash in between two Parklets at property line meets and neither owner would claim responsibility for cleaning the space and City sweeper couldn’t reach it.
So, like all of the places where that occurs on East side of Valencia only, I’d been cleaning all those spots.
Woman named, ‘Lisa’ who said she’s ‘Co-Director’ or something of Clarion Alley told me to …
"Get your shit out of here !"
That was in reference to my cleaning tools and paint bit of concrete.
Street guy calls himself, ‘Red’ or something first sold me post cards of Hendrix backing Little Richard and a dancing Ray Charles.
Gave him pot and money and even my pot pipe once.
Then, when I had nothing he followed me for a couple of weeks waiting until I put a full orange bag by City garbage can and phoned 311 for pickup …
I’d come back and ‘someone’ had emptied my trash into the street.
I just knda shrugged and took the bonus points and cleaned it back up.
One guy toss a beer bottle across alley at me and smashed it against wall.
I cleaned it up.
Another guy dressed as sleazy female hooker came over and poured one of those paper plate lunches they serve at church on 15th atween 14th and 15th …
poured his lunch on my head as I cleaned and a crowd watched.
When I didn’t react, he went and got another full plate and poured it over my head.
I did not react except to start using my prongs to pick the food up.
A young pretty social worker came over in sympathy and started brushing the stuff off my head and clothing.
Note, none of them laid a finger on me.
I’ve made a game as a guy born in the Projects and ending up a Behavior teacher to try and avoid any physical confrontations.
Could I have had a chance against any of those guys at 78 ?
And, don’t get me wrong.
The love and offers of money and food (no sex yet) …
People appreciated what I did greatly especially as the months went by and they realized that I wanted nothing they cheered an praised.
Even Mike Tyson.
Yeah, last July 4th.
I’m cleaning up shit and there’s this guy with a gray beard who looks kinda like tyson I thought right away but he was too short and there were two tall Indian guys with serious film gear taking video of him.
So, he comes over to congratulate me for picking up shit and we fist-bump and they go on with video and I go home and turn on news and, god damn, Mike Tyson was in town and I’d fist-bumped him w/out knowing and got no Picture !!!
So, here I am cleaning the street in front of my house and this tall young Chinese American guy comes over and asks me who I work for and I get that alot mostly from City bosses in cars …
they all want credit for my work I usually think
Or, make me stop cause they seemingly love filth.
The Mayor took 2/3 rds of Porta Potties off Street and 1,000 trash cans I’m told cause they caused too much of a mess.
I’m chasing rabbits here but in a good way.
Telling you how I met Vince and how I had a negative reaction when I saw anyone else picking up shit in what had in my mind become my own private ‘Zone’.
Then, last night when Vince gave a talk encouraging the Public to join him in picking up trash I stood in back nodding and smiling til he said:
"I didn’t think the only one picking up trash should be some burned-out old Hippie."
Pissed me off and I told Manny so as I left.
Then, as I watched the pouring rain on the street thru my triple-bay over the sparkling 14th Street with perfectly manicured (I scrape debris from between iron sewer top slates) …
Watching the rain and it hits me !!
Vince was doing what I’d hoped and thought would never happen.
He was copying Behavior that I had Modeled for him and everyone who saw me.
Oh yeah, I’d worked and preached and told everyone that I was hoping that people would copy my example (merchants particularly) and clean the place themselves.
And, get their neighbors to follow.
Vince had not only done that.
He’d gotten his kids orange vest and tongs and brought them out too.
And, formed an entire organization and given 60 recruiting talks.
The guy, Vince, was and is the very embodiment of the Answer to my Dreams of being a successful model.
And, I’d been playing a resentful, Grouchy Old Man thing with him.
Go Niners !!
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