There used to be dozens of outdoor outlets on the Berkeley campus that I could use to charge my cellphone. But because the campus is on lockdown, the outlets have been getting turned off, one by one. So now there are only 5 left that I can use.
And often there are people camped out at these outlets all day long, plugging in their laptops and whatever. They are hot properties. So it’s getting more competitive. Like this outlet here on the side of the Student Union Building that I’m now plugged into. This outlet had been unavailable to me for several weeks. Why? Because some wingnut had literally been camped out here for weeks. What with the campus being mostly deserted, the UC cops have largely stopped policing it. Or maybe they’re just going out of their way to NOT haul people off to jail because of the covid thing. So they’re turning a blind eye to the street people on the campus in ways they never used to allow. The unattended consequence is that you’ve got 1,232 acres of mostly unoccupied pristine land in the middle of town. So various street people have been filling this vacuum by occupying parts of it.
Like the afore-mentioned wingnut who had been occupying this spot for weeks. And how wingy was he? Well, he had strewn his garbage EVERYWHERE all across the grounds. And among his peculiarities, he had strewn a dozen decks of playing cards all over the place. That’s his calling card. Literally. And I can always tell when he’s been around because he always leaves the playing cards littered about wherever he hangs out. Go figure.
Among his other peculiarities, he had several long exstention cords that he stretched from the outlet, to the balcony 30 feet away, where he laid about with his blankets and his other trash. And the cord was connected to an electric hair-drier which he kept turned on and humming away, 24 hours a day. Even when he wasn’t here. For some reason that I’m sure made perfect sense to him.
Yesterday the cops apparently finally ran him off. Because when I passed by I noticed all the trash had been cleaned up, and there was no longer any sign of him. . . But as I sat here right now, pondering this latest peculiarity — one more peculiarity in a seemingly endless series of peculiarities that is my life — they guy just showed up again. Wandered back and forth, gazing about. Perhaps wondering what had happened to all of his stuff. His blankets, his playing cards, his heaps of garbage. And how he was going to obtain a new hair-dryer.
And it’s all a bit sad. . . But at least for the moment I’m able to charge my cellphone.