Everything about this BART station reminds me of my early 20’s.
The shifty characters loitering in front at odd hours? A decade ago, they could as well have been on my front porch rolling a blunt for us to smoke. Or passed out in my yard with a butt cheek out. Unfortunately for everyone involved, I was THAT neighbor and being THAT neighbor, I was shifty.
Subsequently, I have become accustomed to the desperate air that roams the MacArthur Station, and I look at these vagrants as friends. Friends i’ll never want to hang out with again.
To be clear- am I, or was I, ever as desperate? No.
Have I ever sat in an apartment with the light, power, and gas were turned off, surrounded by piles of garbage, and then decide to spend my last 5 dollars on a 12 pack of Natural Ice? God, yes.
And have I ever sat on the floor of a stranger’s empty apartment, getting high, as a 40 year old woman, blown off meth, scrubbed the toilet for hours and no one said anything about it? Yes, and her name was Turtle.
Do I ever feel awesome about those times; romanticize it and secretly wish I was back squatting in a shit box that I barely paid rent for? The lightweight homelessness? The months of coach-surfing? Fuck, no.
What I’m trying to communicate is, is that I get it.
So when I’m surrounded with these crazy motherfucks and various slices of humanity, who have abstained from toothbrushes for a cool minute, I am calm and collected. Most people’s natural reaction would be to coil tight and become hyper-aware when a drunk man with a tomato can strapped to his head sits next to them. Where as I, I try my damnedest not to lean over to the man and ask “what you sipping on?”
These folks are not necessarily ”my people” but they’re familiar to me. You dig?
The mushy faced oddities trying to make creepy eye contact with anyone walking by- that could either be one of the many weirdo’s trying to sell you a full grown cat at midnight or my roommate in 2001? They could have been my ex-roommates.
The fat guy in flip flops,baggy pants and a velvet tank top, who’s constantly asking for a dollar so he can get a tall boy? The guys who selling weed at the bus stop without a care in the world? The woman, who in equal parts of ease, grace, and slapstick, who stumbles about every third step but never manages to spill a single drop from her “special cup”? The woman who stinks of Grape Cisco and broken dreams?
My life blurs and tangles at the MacArthur Bart Station. Everything is a reminder. I sometimes can’t tell if I jumped in a time machine and went back a decade or if i’m just waiting for the Emery-Go-Round FOR FUCKING FOREVER.
The diminutive, lightweight pimp who grabs every woman’s hand that walks by so he can holler? All the while, he has one arm draped over a very large white woman who’s pushing a baby stroller? The pre-teen couple making out next to the garbage bins who thinks if you “do it” with her on top she can’t get pregnant because of…gravity?
It’s all like holding a mirror to myself when I was very, very, dumb.
This alone, the rekindling of warm thoughts of my stable, functional, and joy filled 20’s is not enough for 5 stars. Oh no.
The reason I give this BART station the Full Monty is because I once saw a man get tasered by two cops in front of the ticket station. He got fucked up. It looked like he was in a one man break-dancing competition with two assholes as judges. I mean, damn, that’s crazy.
P.S. I was almost tasered once when I was 11 or 12. An older girl, who I didn’t know and never saw before, walked up to me and shoved a taser into my gut. I jumped back before the zap. When I looked around for help from my friends, and saw that they were already 6 miles away and still running like mad gazelles, I realized then that I have really fast friends. Almost superhuman.