Oct. 9 2007 08:38 PM

She picks up bottles and cans.

homeless_primary

Her shopping cart parked outside and loaded with cans, bottles and cardboard, Evelyn emerged from a 7-Eleven in Hillcrest with a fresh cup of coffee. She sat down against the convenience store's wall, in the shade and out of the midday Sunday heat.

Two sidewalk sign twirlers approached the store's entrance. She asked them if their jobs were hard to get. 'Yes,' one said.

'Really hard?' she asked, getting no response as they entered the store.

A 47-year-old native San Diegan, Evelyn wore a tank top and sweat pants. A few gray strands and a little bit of stuck gunk stood out in her dark long hair, which sported thick bangs that came close to obscuring her eyes. She spoke softly behind crooked front teeth and was a bit hard to understand. Asked if she wouldn't mind being interviewed, Evelyn said talking about picking up bottles and cans is 'boring.' She agreed to a conversation nonetheless. But it didn't get far.

Among the few details of her life that she managed to give was that her second husband-whose name she would not, or could not, provide-died five years ago from cancer. She said that several times. Asked what he had done for a living, she said he received Social Security. Evelyn's been on the streets since he died. She sleeps 'under a bridge' that 'leads to a canyon.'

Questions about her childhood, her parents and her first husband appeared to make her uncomfortable. She abruptly stood up, saying she had to continue picking up bottles and cans. She repeated that numerous times, sort of like Dustin Hoffman's Raymond repeatedly announced the impending broadcast of 'Wapner' in Rain Man.

Located in an alley a few minutes later, and presented by a CityBeat reporter with a large bag of cans and bottles, and by a passing motorist with a couple of dollars, Evelyn's otherwise stern face brightened. 'Thanks!' she said. But a second attempt to extract information was as unsuccessful as the first.

'I gotta pick up bottles and cans,' she said, 'by myself.'

Calendar

  • Visit one of the 70 participating restaurants, bars, coffeehouses and nightclubs in town on this night and 25 to 50 percent of sales will go to local HIV/AIDS services and prevention programs. 
  • Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward, who are vying to replace Todd Gloria on the San Diego City Council, will discuss urban issues, such as parking, homelessness and new developments
  • The new exhibition designed by Dave Ghilarducci is made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape and bound together by layers of plastic shrink-wrap. Visitors can navigate their way through cocoon-like passageways...
  • The renowned Mexican black and white photographer presents an exhibition exploring the principal themes within three groups: "Bestiarium"," Fantastic Women" and "Silent Natures."
  • Presented by Pacific Arts Movement, the sixth annual mini film fest features 14 film programs from 10 countries that includes everything from docs to romantic tearjerkers. See website for full lineup and...
  • The San Diego County Bike Coalition hosts this monthly bike-in happy hour event to get biking residents involved in their communities and discuss bike projects planned for that specific community
  • Debunk some of the stereotypes surrounding cannibalism at this new exhibition that takes a hands-on approach to the subject. Includes video games and interactive activities where patrons will have to decide...
  • So Say We All's monthly storytelling night features stories about those jobs we took because we had to take a job. Featured readers include Allison Gauss, Annmarie Houghtailing, Cecile Estelle, and more
  • Artists from the all-abstracts group show will talk about their work and techniques. Artists include Edwin Nutting, Danielle Nelisse, Leah Pantea, Lenore Simon, and more
See all events on Thursday, Apr 28