Twenty-four years old and homeless for just one month, Adrian wears headphones and clutches a dirty army blanket as he walks down Fifth Avenue in Hillcrest. Clearly a good-looking guy in his better days, he now has dirt on his face, a shadow of a beard, fuzzy yellow teeth and grime under his fingernails.
He sees me approaching and asks me if I have any crystal meth. I don't, so I ask if I can interview him instead. He agrees but has some trouble finishing his sentences, his words occasionally tapering off as his gaze shifts to an indiscriminate spot in the air in front of him.
Adrian doesn't say much about how he grew up, but he does allude to a somewhat unstable childhood.
'I went to school everywhere in San Diego, almost,' he says. 'I went to all the middle schools--no, elementary schools. A few middle schools, and my fair share of high schools. My parents moved around a lot.'
He had recently been living with his brother, sister and stepfather in Clairemont but says he left because he got tired of arguing with them about his lifestyle.
'There was a lot of issues about me getting work, finding work, and I didn't want to work,' he says. 'I had other ways of making money.'
Adrian doesn't make much money anymore. Nowadays, he spends his time panhandling and looking for work, a place to stay and--if he's lucky--a relationship.
'It might be the right direction,' he says. 'If I find a relationship, maybe it's what I need to establish myself.'
When asked if he thinks getting a date will be harder now that he's living on the street, he appears to get flustered and has an even harder time finishing his thoughts.
His stamina for being interviewed is pretty depleted by this point, but he manages to summon some closing thoughts on homelessness.
'I think that, honestly, it's pretty hard, and it's not for everyone,' Adrian says. 'It's basically just a place you might get stuck at if you're not careful. I wouldn't recommend trying to force yourself out on the street to be cool or anything, to tell you the truth.'