Thanksgiving Day in People’s Park

Thought I’d drink a beer in People’s Park in honor of Thanksgiving weekend. I haven’t spent hardly any time in the park since we re-took it on August 3. But it seemed strangely appropriate.

Earlier in the day I had passed through this spot on my way to 7-11, when an old friend of mine, Christeen, called out to me and came walking towards me. I waved hello but kept walking, even though I could tell she wanted to talk to me. It can be tough to be alone on the holidays — I think there was some of that with Christeen’s eagerness to talk to me. But I was in my usual anti-social mood and just kept walking. I wondered if she was back living in the park. . . . Later I felt bad about it, like she might have felt rejected (she can be sensitive like that). So one of the reasons I came back to the park was to see if I could hook up with her for a bit. Holidays can be weird like that. This extra neediness to socialize and connect with somebody. Anybody. But there was no sight of her now. Oh well. . .

There are only about 9 trees left in the park. From the hundreds of trees that used to be here. But, amazingly, Hate Man’s tree was one of the survivors. That’s his tree straight ahead with the double-prong. For about 15 years Hate set up his sleeping gear in front of that tree, and he’d sit there during the day on top of his blankets, holding court. Hate Camp. sigh A million hazy memories from the distant past start percolating in my noggin. . .

But I have a hard time feeling comfortable where I’m sitting. With all the tents set up everywhere in the park, you feel like you’re walking through people’s backyards, trespassing on people’s private property, instead of being in a public park. Several people seem to be circling around me as I sit here on this log. One guy loudly offers to sell me weed. Then another guy walks by me, eying me suspiciously, and then stands somewhere behind me, hidden behind a tent, out of view. . . Then, off in the distance in the middle of the park, a violent scene seems to suddenly break out. A guy with a big stick seems to be pounding it on the ground over and over. But I can’t make out for sure what’s going on because my vision is obscured by several tents in between me and the scene. Is he pounding the ground or pounding some guy?? Who knows. It’s probably nothing. But I decide to leave before I’m halfway finished with my beer.

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