Had a great gyro and Cafe Americano at Mediterranean Mix. I have eaten here before, more than once over the decades, a working class joint, really real, old town authenticisme.

Then I had 2 1/2 hours to kill until the 4:25 bus to Bellingham, so I wandered around, taking pictures of red brick buildings, zeroing-in on the Smith Tower, the preservation of which spurred the Urban Renewal Movement in the 1970s.

“Just one more shot,” I kept thinking, edging backwards down 2nd Avenue, trying to get the tower in the warm light of the setting sun. Then it came to me WHY there were so many homeless, dispossessed dudes on all sides: I was standing in front of the Homeless Mission, taking pictures like a tourist.

“You should get a tripod,” one very tall homeless Black guy suggested. “You know, for your camera?”

So many homeless guys blocking the sidewalk I had to lug my backpack and shoulder bag–hugging it to my chest–out in the street just to get past, up, up, up cobblestone steps, finally escaping the squalor by diving in to the underground station at Pioneer Square. Two quick light rail stops and you’re back at ground zero, down and out at Stadium Station.

Killing time among the poor and dispossessed at the Greyhound Terminal, squatting toad-like below five layers of concrete highway overpasses–jammed in between chain-link fencing around acres of parking for buses on one side, and on the other side, acres of parking for cars at the Stadium. Not even a bench to sit on outside. You can sit on the curb or wander the sidewalks among the homeless and wanderers, drunks, thieves, security guards, and SWAT cops on bikes patrolling the area.

The temperature was below freezing and finally I had to take a seat inside the Greyhound Terminal–everything about which indicates contempt for their customers. “The Situation Room” is broadcasting in stereo from tv screens at either side of the shoebox-size room–some big-eyed, big-hair blonde–She has NO idea of The Situation in this Room.

I’m really going to miss the Greyhound Security guy. Full of nervous energy, friendly and outgoing, talks out of the side of his mouth, greasy gray and black ponytail tied in a loose knot, he was having a show-down with Robert, an alcoholic white homeless squatter with whom–it was plain to see–he had a history.

“You can’t just hang out here if you don’t have a ticket, Robert, and you know it,” he said, handing the vagrant a brochure. “Here’s the Rules, I”m calling The Manager.”

Robert collapses in a corner chair among all his possessions, backpacks, and black plastic garbage bags: happy just to be warm again, if only for a while.

I’m first in line when it’s finally time to board the bus. Three hours later, I’m checking-into a Charming Guest Cottage in somebody’s backyard. There’s room for four, but it’s all mine for the next two days.