11.4.11

Under The Bridge: Masturbating Perverts and Junkies

Eureka, California has this large bridge.  The Samoa Bridge.  Under it is a dock for launching boats.  Before it is an under-utilized park where a blues festival is held every year.  It's also home to assorted perverts.  I wasn't always aware of this, however.

When I first moved here, I had no idea what kind of insanity lurked under and around the bridge.  I was exposed to it (pun intended) when I took my bike on a leisurely ride along the bay.  As I got to the the end of the line, I stopped to look at the boats, when a rustling sound in the bushes behind me caught my attention.  No, it wasn't a sea gull shredding the remains of a hamburger.  It was a man.  More specifically, a masturbating man.  Broad daylight. 

I didn't stick around, but since then the bridge has been a constant source of inspiration in my various stories.  (Melinda actually utilizes the location in a way that mirrors what I actually witnessed a few years later.)  Since that masturbating bush man incident I've visited the bridge about once a year, sitting in my car and people watching.  I haven't seen such a flagarant display since then, but I've witnessed the junkies, the homeless, the hookers and the men looking for other men, as well as the dog walkers, the fishermen and the bicycle riders who have (presumably) yet to be exposed to the delights of exhibitionists and their shortcomings.

I suppose every town has a place where the civil laws of society sort of fade to the background and it becomes a free for all of sexual delights and substance abuse of every sort.  Picture Burning Man without high ticket prices and kinetic sculptures.  And though I find it a source of inspiration, I also find it kind of sad.  The homeless, the dope slammers, the closeted men, the ladies looking to make five bucks -- it's a Norman Rockwell painting that he always wanted to do but never had the guts to actually pull off.  It is the people society would rather forget about, and that's why those places are always sort of out of the way.  You don't see them.  They don't exist.

In time I imagine the area around the bridge will be developed and the fringe riders will have to find a new place to congregate.  They will, through some weird signal system that only they understand, alert others of a similar ilk to their whereabouts.  Until that day arrives, however, you tourist types now know of a place that isn't in any of the Eureka guide books.  If you need some black tar heroin, a hooker of questionable age, or a hummer from a guy who will go home to kiss his wife about a half hour after he's done with you -- you now know where to go.  Or you can just go to the zoo like all the other tourists.  Where's the fun in that, though?


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4 comments:

Jessica said...

In San Lorenzo Park in Santa Cruz they have put cages around the areas under the bridge, so only the walkway is open. The cages are always empty, but extremely creepy, and no need to wonder why they are there either. Also the good heroin is conveniently located under the boardwalk for visiting tourists.

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

Cages! How appropriate and symbolic. What does this say about us as a society?

Jessica said...

I always think one day I'll walk by and see vagrants locked up in there, when the police run out of room in the jails, or need a place to lock someone up quickly during a riot scene. What it says about society, open spaces are not safe, and our reaction to social problems is lock em' up, or eliminate public spaces.

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

Have you ever heard of the Department of Space and Land Reclamation? You should check it out.