I started selling pot at 7th and Market when I was jobless and behind on rent. The plan was to sell in the morning, take a break, fill out job applications, sell some more in the evening, and call it a night. My goal: make enough money to breathe and then fly straight.
It didn't work out that way.
On the streets, long term goals shrink to 24-hour shifts of survival. You're hustling to get a hotel room that night, then you're hustling to keep that hotel room until you go to jail. You get out, and return to the streets and your long-term goals.
Sometimes, Carls Jr. was my bed at night. Once I was there at 4 am, dozing, waiting 'til BART opened. All these old guys were standing around, bragging how long they'd been on the streets.
"I been out here since the Fun Center," one guy said, when they had an arcade out on Market. Another said he'd been out here since Greyhound came down 7th Street.