eating a sandwich off the pavement where people normally pee

Every morning on my way to Pasion I walk under I-95 along a sidewalk that’s totally shaded by the overpass, and lined with tall pillars, and just about every morning I see somebody pissing on one of these pillars. Way more rare, but not uncommon, is the sight of somebody squatting against the pillar and shitting onto the pavement.

            Today, while walking home along that sidewalk, a homeless guy who hangs out in the area piped up from behind me, friendly, to ask if I could move aside cuz he was coming by on a bike.

            I stepped aside, waved, and he nodded at me as he passed.

He was positioned awkwardly on his bike because he was pulling a lone cheeseburger out of a small McDonald’s bag with one free hand. So he’s steering the bike, watching the path ahead of him, and trying to unwrap his lunch.

            It proved too much.

            He tilted to the left at one point and, veering to correct his balance, he dropped the burger to take hold of the handlebars.

            The burger he’d been trying to open flew out of his hand and broke apart on the sidewalk.

            He stopped the bike, shouting in Spanish. He hopped off and then shoved the bike to the ground.

            Bike goes down with a nasty clatter as our guy goes quickly, feverishly, about collecting the scattered bits of his burger from this long stretch of pavement onto which I’ve seen three men move their bowels in the past couple months and countless others spray their piss and where, on the mornings after a holiday, you’ll see puddled vomit and broken shoes and different colored glass.

            Before I’ve caught up with his bike, still walking casually along my way, the homeless bicyclist has re-assembled the cheeseburger and, after much brushing and batting of debris its parts, taken the first bite.

            My immediate thought is that he must not realize what sorts of poison horror he’s just exposed himself to.

            But how could he not? Dude haunts these sidewalks more than I do. He’s probably seen people fuck and die on this sidewalk.

            What’s more likely than his not understanding what he’s just exposed himself to is that I don’t understand how much this burger means to him, and when he’ll be able to get another one.

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