Two tables away, a young man snorts white powder in the dining room of a McDonald's in Compton using a rolled up money bill. Another man places the sampled baggie back into his waist band. The man who had a taste doesn't fit the usual profile of a drug user or addict. He's dressed like he came from a hip-hop music video.
Ten feet away, the pungent odor of an older man who hasn't washed in quite some time drifts over to my nostrils. He's not in his right mind. I feel helpless when I see people in this dismal state of mind and in this state. At times it is possible to exchange a few words in conversation. Other times, they are so accustomed to being ignored that when someone actually does begin speaking with them, they do not know what to do.
Five tables away, a middle-aged man with a skin disease on his hands scratches out lottery tickets and inspects what is revealed in hopes of winning something.
Schools kids of all ages pour in. It is three in the afternoon.
Across the street I can see the Compton court house. Many recently released inmates make their way to McDonald's or the adjacent convenience store. A public transportation hub is nearby where they can catch a train or a bus to anywhere Amerika.
The man who snorted cocaine was quite generous when an older man asked for some help so he can get something to eat. The snorting young man handed him a few dollars, asking the beggar to bring back a burger for himself as well. Some time later, the snorting young man leaves and the beggar asks me if I know where the generous young man went, not wanting to keep something that isn't his.