Berkeley Homeless Tale: Xmas Eve

by Steed Dropout
Jan, 22, 2013
Berkeley, Ca


Once homeless, I welcome opportunities to be among them. I always learn something about myself when I cover them for the Berkeley Daily Planet.

Just off Holiday Crafts Fair stories for the Planet, and Berkeleyside, which I hoped would feature my photos (they did), I was looking for something more piquant.

Also, I had written a highly praised Thanksgiving piece, and wanted to see if I could top that.

The reporting of the story was thrilling. One surprise after another, and friendships with some street people I want to keep up with.

The last major scene on Telegraph is now located between the notorious Cafe Mediterraneum and Amoeba Records, when two major avenue scenes elsewhere dissolved,

I would say I covered the last of the big scenes on the ave, but I know that a scene would just pop up somewhere you didn’t expect.

Lost and I went down to Fred's Market at 10:20 Xmas Eve to see when they would close, so we could spread the word back at the scene - no more booze. Fred's said they ere closing soon. Photo by Ted Friedman.

The scene I would embed myself into has thrived for so long, I just took it for granted. I have mastered the technique of stepping around their sprawled bodies, their backpacks, their dogs. I consider it a sport. But I’ve never penetrated it as a reporter.

There hasn’t been a scene this good in a long time. It all depends on who is passing through town.

To see why I was impressed, my story provides one weird happening after another. A tease: a great kid threatens to ejaculate on my head (bald, beneath a watch hat).

That’s all I can say.

In Berkeley, we’re used to weird, perhaps addicted.

Source: “I’m going to ejaculate on your head.”

Reporter: “could you spell ejaculate for me?”


There I was shooting them with what seemed a point and shoot, without taking a note. Although it looks like a point and shoot, it’s really a full professional camera, with results to prove it. (See accompanying pics).

The scene Xmas Eve. Photo by Ted Friedman.

To those few who challenged me, I would show my shots to them on my camera, and point out I had avoided their faces.

But as they either became more stoned , pleasantly drunk, or sated with charity food, they let me shoot at will. Some seemed to welcome it.

If you read the story [the story], you’ll see that I featured a young man named Eyler, someone who had worked his way around the country on his own terms, working on farms, in return for grub and a haystack in a barn.

Another kid I liked, who, when visiting Berkeley, liked to drop into an IOT center (Illuminates of Thanateros) to get his head straight. He’s the one who threatened to ejaculate on my head.

We advertise lurid stories, and we like to make good on our offer.

Part of the scene, Xmas Eve outside the Med. You are there. Photo by Ted Friedman.

Deleted scene: Ejaculator to Eyler who had delivered an extemporaneous oration on how it felt the first time he awoke, ten years ago to a day in which he was free to pursue his own interests, freed of the obligation to earn a living, because he didn’t need one.

The would-be ejaculator: “I’m so jealous of you.”

Eyler: “Why, man?”

Because you discovered this life ten years before me.

They loved the life, and I loved precariously reliving my homeless life-style with them.

At last, a lurid story.

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