The corner of 8th and Market was unusually congested this afternoon. Stylish men in suits and leather jackets and women in skirts and high heels converged upon the Orpheum Theater with $99 to $225 dollar tickets tucked in the silky inside pockets of their wool overcoats. Three policemen and one theater security guard stood watch over their affluent flock.
I crossed the street and approached a woman in a wheelchair. She had no legs, but possessed an adequate number of arms, hands and fingers with which to clutch an empty paper cup for panhandling, and a 40 oz for drinking. Her hair was blond and straggly, and her face was the color and texture of roasted almonds-- presumably from years living on the street. I couldn't tell if she was 50-something or a 40 year old who looked 50.
"What's going on over there?" I inquired, nodding my head across the street.
"They're seeing the show 'Wicked'" she replied.
"Oh, is that here now?" I asked.
"Yea, it's been here two months already and it's supposed to run for a year."
I smiled at my informant and waited to see if she would ask me for money to fill her cup. With five $1 dollar bills burning a hole in my pocket, I've promised myself that if anyone asks I will give them one or all of them.
But she didn't ask. So I cheerfully wished her a good day.
"You too honey!" she called out as I traipsed up 8th Street, traveling upstream from the flow of well-dressed pedestrians walking to the theater on a Wednesday afternoon.