I am a commuter.
A strap-hanger. A second-shift clock-puncher.
I am an illustrator by trade, which is work that I do from home (or a coffee shop, or a bar, or Golden Gate Park... it's legitimately the world's greatest job). About %60 of my professional output goes to illustration or other creative endeavors.
The other %40 goes to a day job. In this line of work, it helps to have a steady income to cover the rent and necessities. So I work at the intersection of California and the Pacific, where I repair slightly damaged tea cups. It's shift work and I tend to work odd hours; lots of nights and weekends. I enjoy my work, and I enjoy my commute.
It takes me 20 minutes of walking and 30 minutes of riding a train to get to The Sandcastle Center for Slightly Damaged Teacups and Saucers (as it is formally known, but we mostly just call it The 'Castle).
I spotted this old sweetheart on an inbound L train, late on a Sunday night.
As I noted at the bottom of the page, Bob Seger's "Famous Final Scene" was playing in my earbuds. The perfect soundtrack for the moment.
It looked like it had been a rough couple of years, and more recently a rough couple of nights, and even more immediately- a rough couple of hours.
She was clearly very intoxicated and had either recently lost her shoes and one glove, or had made some poor decisions before leaving the house. Both were equally likely.
As an illustrator, I examine her and take mental notes on physical elements that will define her. The storyteller in me finds myriad questions in each of her stains and scars and intuitively tries to assemble answers.
As a commuter, I want to get home and draw. It's my motivator. The day's work is done and it's time to engage the creative brain. I'm coming up on Van Ness, so I still have 30 minutes to let my mind wander.
Where did her shoes go? Did she lose them or were they taken from her by force? Were they nice shoes? Is she sad that she lost them?
Did she lose her glove in the same incident?
Is this just what every night is like for her? Or is this the worst moment of her entire life? What was the best moment of her entire life? What was her prom like? I wonder why she started doing drugs.
What is the shortest possible distance between me and homelessness?