What do you make of this? The area along the Kindred Hospital property in San Diego village of University Heights is a bit of a homeless campsite. Makeshift tents tucked behind utility boxes or covered bodies stretched out on grass are commonly seen. Shopping carts chock full of junk—eh, personal belongings— are navigational hazards. Weave as you walk!
A lone cart containing a time-zone map of the world made an impression for seeming so out of place by any measure. Who did it belong to? Why did he or she abandon it? Was the wall hanging free for the taking? Discarded? Forgotten? You know, the shopping cart got left behind—accidentally detached from several carts strung together.
Maybe the map is, or was, something prized by someone recently put out on the streets. The sad stories abound on social network Nextdoor about San Diegans who have been evicted from residences where they lived for decades. The hot trend among local landlords: Remove all existing tenants; renovate; raise rents to so-called market rates.
The desperate renoviction sagas are all alike: The evictees can’t afford rentals elsewhere, because costs are so much ridiculously higher than what they had been paying. Quick look on Zillow tonight reveals this lowest-cost rental in the neighborhood: 280-square-foot apartment for $1,500 per month. Shell out three-hundred bucks more and move up to 400 sq ft.
For the record, these bargains are at the very outskirts of UH, either Hillcrest or North Park. Within what most people would regard University Heights is $1,850 monthly rental with a whopping 530 square feet. For the area, that price for that size is comparatively affordable. At the high end, $5,295 per month will get you a spacious 1,550 sq-ft townhouse. Got pets? Pay $250 deposit and fifty bucks more each month to keep them.
Given recent renovictions and rising rents, I see troublesome trend: Homeless folks who don’t look like they have lived long on the streets and more of them who are middle-aged or older. I wonder if the map belonged to one of these newbies. Perhaps he or she could no longer justify carrying it about with no wall to hang and too much risk of damage.
The Featured Image adds utility to what the previous owner left behind. Zoom in and you can get the time zone for most every country in the world—plus or minus Greenwich Mean Time. West Coast is -8 hours (seven right now because of stupid Daylight Saving). The setup is exactly how I found it and the photo, taken with Leica Q2, is composed as shot. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/640 sec, 28mm; 2:41 p.m. PDT, April 30, 2023. Location: Along El Cajon between Florida and Georgia.