The rancid odor of Old Spice and caked-on sweat nearly overcomes me as I survey the rotting landscape of greasy McDonald's wrappers, shattered Old English bottles, a smattering of syringes, and, of course, liberal quantities of human excrement.
God, is my apartment a mess.
Thanks, however, to Mayor Gavin Newsom — with a nudge from the Chronicle — city dwellers besides my friends and family are finally not subjected to such filth. My crusade against the homeless has spawned a new day in the city.
As I gaze out of my office window on Fifth and Mission, I no longer view the legions of aggressive panhandlers, sidewalk loiterers, and drug users. Mothers don't have to instruct their toddlers not to stare at that poor, crazy man anymore. Street prostitutes can now ply their trade in peace without stumbling over a vagabond.
Why have I been on this crusade? Well, I admit, I adore the words "feces" and "syringes," and now I get to use them all the time. You could say I just love to shoot the shit. And, besides, the city's silent majority has decided that enough is enough. According to an informal poll at SFGate, 99.44 percent of San Franciscans disapprove of defecation and drug use on the street — and the rest are running for mayor.
But the price of freedom from homeless interlopers is eternal vigilance. That's the thing about these homeless people — they don't have homes. Thus, they are always a threat to deposit syringes and feces here, there, and everywhere. So I returned once more to the Heart of Darkness in Golden Gate Park.
Almost instantaneously, I came across a group of ragged older men huddled around a can of beans smoldering on a campfire and grousing about the 49ers' O-line. I brandished the Jimmy Connors Model T2000 racquet I picked up covering the '88 French Open and readied myself for battle when a grubby, white-bearded man let out a shriek.
"Chuck! Don't you remember me? It's John! For God's sake, we worked together for 20 years!"
And it was true. In fact, many of the homeless denizens of the park these days are laid-off Chronicle staffers; the industrious former real-estate writers have even created an amazing split-level shelter out of old appliance boxes.
I've been trying to decide: Is that the saddest thing I've ever seen, or the most uplifting? I'm not sure, but I can say this: There were plenty of feces and syringes in the park that day.