This morning I took a run along the Lower Arroyo Trail.
There’s a guy who lives under the San Pascual bridge, near the ball park. He’s been there for at least three years, (that’s what he says) and maybe as long as five (which is what others remember). His place was set up with furniture, a stuffed tiger, a big Texas flag, a carpet…and I felt like I was a guest in his house every time I ran under the bridge.
His name is Buffalo.
I always wave and/or shout hello.
Today I noticed that most of his stuff was gone, and commented on that.
The ground he’s on is South Pasadena, but the bridge belongs to LA, and there’s a new guy – Officer Chang – patrolling the area. The way Buffalo tells it, Officer Chang showed up a while back gun in hand and ordered Buffalo to move.
Buffalo decided to fight the eviction. He lost the fight. Chang wants him out by New Years.
Buffalo has had this place for years. It’s his, and he looks after it. It’s clean. There’s no graffiti. It’s Buffalo’s home, not some temporary camp. I’ve moved twice in the time he’s lived there. Kick him out and others will take his place, and those others are not likely to look after things the way Buffalo does.
Buffalo is from Texas. He didn’t say where. He doesn’t consider going back to Texas, (and why would he? There’s not much in the way of social services there), but he has considered putting the flag back up.
He’s an alcoholic. That’s pretty clear. He says he used to work at NASA, and blames Obama for a lot of his problems. Apparently it was under Obama’s watch that NASA suffered budget cuts and Buffalo lost his job. I’m not sure that Obama is why he’s living under a bridge, though. I reckon the booze has a lot to do with that.
I wished him a Merry Christmas if I don’t see him before then. I’ll need to make sure to do a few more runs down the Arroyo before he’s gone. And whoever you are, Officer Chang, you are doing more harm than good. There are more important fights for you to fight. Merry Christmas to you.