Christine has been living in San Francisco since 1973. She takes the bus from the Outer Richmond to the Main Library every day.
“I get up in the morning, I have breakfast, and then I come to the library. There’s more books here and it’s fairly quiet.”
“I like to read and write. I like to read mystery stories. I like to read history. Occasionally some science. I take courses at City College so sometimes I study for that. Although in the winter when City College is in session, I tend to go there and use their library. Because there, you can take your shoes off. Here, it’s against the rules to take your shoes off. And there’s a librarian who patrols and tells me to put my shoes on. It’s true that this place has become an encampment for homeless people but as long as they’re asleep and they’re not snoring, that’s fine with me!”
Since Christine visits the library every day, she has met an acquaintance or two outside at the Fulton Street public space.
“I had a short acquaintance with a homeless guy. And we even ended up going to the East Bay to look at places where old, poor people could live. I didn’t like any of them. I don’t want to live with a bunch of old people.”
Christine is quite politically active and she attended a few protests held at Civic Center.
“I marched on Market Street three times after Mr. Trump’s inauguration but I’m not really much interested in the rallies. People give speeches intended to fire you up and they don’t say anything I don’t already know. I dislike it when they have parties that include bands that make a tremendous amount of noise.”
Christine primarily hangs out at Fulton Street to eat lunch. She generally does not spend time in any of the other public spaces unless the Farmer’s Market is in set up in UN Plaza.
“I go to the Farmer’s Market. Oh I love it. I love it.”
She likes the public space outside of the library because there’s seating.
“There’s a place to sit down. I’m 73 years old. I need to sit down! Park benches seem to be disappearing everywhere. There’s something else I don’t like about the park benches, they put railings in the middle of them so that people can’t lie [down]. What the hell do they think people are gonna do? People have to lie down sometimes, they need to sleep! And if people don’t have any other place to sleep, then they should be allowed to sleep on a park bench. I find it cruel! I think that the city is cruel. I think that the government is sometimes cruel.”
Despite having a well-established routine, Christine thinks she’s been in San Francisco for too long and is considering moving.
“It’s a little bit too long. I never expected to be here for that long. And the rents are impossible so I may leave…There are specific things about the City that I would miss, yes. I would have to get a new doctor. I would have to learn a new bus schedule. And I’d have to move which is a lot of work. I’ve been living in the same place for nineteen years and I’m accustomed to the shops in that area. My brother lives in Mobile, Alabama. But I would have to have a car and I hate the damn things. I owned one once and it was a miserable experience.”
If Christine doesn’t end up leaving San Francisco, you might her around lunchtime sitting outside of the public library eating lunch. As long as you don’t play loud music, she’s happy to have a conversation.