We paid the rent early this month to make a good impression on the new landlord. All the utilities are covered. No one is after me for anything that I can think of. I’m sitting on the second story of a temperature-controlled, luxury bus on its way to a campus full of friendly faces and free food. It all seems damn near perfect.
Then I spot the first desperate homeless person of the day. Using the sidewalk as a bed and the trashcan nearby as a pantry, I wonder where he came from and how it all came to this.
Right on cue, a parade of Uber commuters come into sight. Each cheap four-door sedan is the same—the passengers are elbow-to-elbow in the backseat staring at their phones while the driver silently dodges other Uber drivers’ angry maneuvers. It seems someone is always getting screwed in our “sharing” economy.
And the scene wouldn’t be complete without a swath of tourists aiming their sparkling new iPhones toward a row of palm trees planted along the Embarcadero. Each of them tries to capture the Instagram shot that will define their time away from home. Their time in a place where the homeless are part of the landscape, Ubers outnumber daily drivers, and a lucky guy sits on the second story of a fancy bus and watches it all unfold.