Longform

Signs of the Times

Page 4 of 4

Cars whir past. A voice inside one yells, "It doesn't look like you're missing any meals." Another heckler hands Kim a McDonald's job application. She makes a fist and crumples it. "I make better money with my sign," she says.


Robert
His feet are swollen to the size of hams. He keeps one bare for all the drivers to see. "I have 'elephant's foot,' Robert says. "The blood goes down to my legs, but there's not enough pressure in my circulation to get it all back up. I've been in a wheelchair all my life."

He makes $90 a day. It takes him nine hours, on average. "I come here every day. This is my life." He stays in motels. He eats alone. "I see all kinds of people, but I don't really know anyone."

Robert says the police hassled him this morning. "They handcuffed me to my wheelchair, and they were going to give me a ticket, but some people from the Coalition for the Homeless started arguing with them, and they backed off."

He says he'll obey the new law once it goes into effect. "I obey all laws on the books," he says. "I try to be a good citizen. I'll obey it, but I don't agree with it. I think it's just another way the city council gave the police to push the homeless around."

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David Holthouse
Contact: David Holthouse