I’ve been getting confused on the cable car. I ride it a lot because I live on the California line. This summer I kept looking at the passengers and wondering how the homeless junkies were able to afford riding the cable car, since the fare is $5 each way. Then I realized, the people I was looking at weren’t homeless junkies, they were European.

The confusion comes because both groups are often skinny, tan, smoking, carrying bundles, and speaking what sounds like crazy talk (being American I barely even know English).

Which is exciting because it gives us San Franciscoers a whole new game to play. Back in the early 90’s we had “Alternative Girl or Old Lady”, a game where you had to guess whether the person at the bus stop was really an old lady or just an alternative girl dressed like one. Then the game “Man, Not a Man” came around. In this one you try to guess if the hooker your looking at is a man dressed like a woman or an actual woman (kids love this game).

And now, thanks to the weak dollar, we get to add the “Tourist or Homeless” game. Sure, it sounds easy but you’ll be surprised how often you get it wrong.

Dang, this city is fun!

On her way to finding answers to your questions, Babe sees and hears a lot. Loiterer tells some of these stories, but she’s just one loiterer in a city of thousands — send your overheards and pocket-sized anecdotes her way.

the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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