The Man Living in Front of the Maserati Store is Homeless

Late on a ‪Thursday night in Woodland Hills, California, the recessed lights of the Maserati Auto Gallery spotlight a gaggle of sleek, luxury automobiles; like carbon fiber and plexiglass statues standing in relief, their muscled torsos gleaming, they show off their voluptuous curves, bold coloring, and clean, sharp lines. Masterpieces of human ingenuity these works of art demand to be ogled, to be gazed at, and above all else, to be seen.

In the foreground like in a soothing mural of a city at sleep there’s a man, but he’s not made of paint.  Seemingly oblivious to the world — just as the world is to him — the man is sprawled on a bus stop bench.  He lies so close to the Maseratis that their cool light refracts off of the storefront glass, illuminating the remaining white of his soiled, tattered shoes.  

Across the street, rummaging stoically through a trash can in front of Whole Foods is a middle-aged woman; she’s got straight shoulder-length grey hair, a weathered, noble face, and at least three layers of clothing on despite the lingering layer of mugginess leftover from the day’s heat.

Stoically, this woman forages, inspecting her finds quizzically, but also, in an experienced and depressingly practiced way. Periodically, she will sigh deeply, and sometimes she will add a plastic bottle or soda can to her burgeoning collection; already piled high it threatens to topple down from her overly-full shopping cart.

Visible under the woman’s recyclables is a cornucopia of blankets, clothes, foodstuffs, a battered (but maybe not broken) clock radio, an umbrella, a few books, and a magazine — last week’s New Yorker. The New Yorker lies on the cart’s bottom rung next to a framed photo of a smiling young woman; it’s a spitting albeit much younger image of the grey-haired woman now picking through the detritus of the rich to survive.

The beaming woman in the picture has on graduation garb and she holds a diploma high above her head like the Statute of Liberty holds her torch. If you look closely you’ll see that the glass of the picture frame is cracked.

Seeping from doorways and neighborhood storefronts of still-open restaurants and bars comes contented laughter; the sound is shrill and jarring as it whistles down the boulevard swirling past the man who is sleeping (or maybe not sleeping) with the Maseratis. Occasionally, an unintelligible shard of conversation — happy, animated voices — punctuates the din of the night air, before dispersing, slowly disappearing.

Soon young men and women the same age as the smiling girl in the picture frame, their dress immaculate — with hair, makeup, and expensive outfits still impossibly fresh and unwrinkled despite the lateness of the hour — will emerge from the various establishments. They’ll spill out onto the sidewalk like a ragtag collection of wayward sheep. Shepherdless but feeling satisfied with sloppy stumbles now and again, they successfully make their way, to their own Maseratis or Maserati-like cars. Revving well-maintained foreign motors, some lighting cigarettes for the road, they head for home.

Barely taking noticing of this departure, the woman in front of Whole Foods digs deeper — she’s reached the bottom of the barrel now.  And, across the street, the man on the bench rolls to his other side and pulls the drawstring on his hoody tight; he’s already home.

More articles by:

Stephen Cooper is a former D.C. public defender who worked as an assistant federal public defender in Alabama between 2012 and 2015. He has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers in the United States and overseas. He writes full-time and lives in Woodland Hills, California.

March 19, 2018
Henry Heller
The Moment of Trump
John Davis
Pristine Buildings, Tarnished Architect
Uri Avnery
The Fake Enemy
Patrick Cockburn
The Fall of Afrin and the Next Phase of the Syrian War
Nick Pemberton
The Democrats Can’t Save Us
Nomi Prins 
Jared Kushner, RIP: a Political Obituary for the President’s Son-in-Law
Georgina Downs
The Double Standards and Hypocrisy of the UK Government Over the ‘Nerve Agent’ Spy Poisoning
Dean Baker
Trump and the Federal Reserve
Colin Todhunter
The Strategy of Tension Towards Russia and the Push to Nuclear War
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
US Empire on Decline
Ralph Nader
Ahoy America, Give Trump a Taste of His Own Medicine Starting on Trump Imitation Day
Robert Dodge
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons by Divesting from Them
Laura Finley
Shame on You, Katy Perry
Weekend Edition
March 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Michael Uhl
The Tip of the Iceberg: My Lai Fifty Years On
Bruce E. Levine
School Shootings: Who to Listen to Instead of Mainstream Shrinks
Mel Goodman
Caveat Emptor: MSNBC and CNN Use CIA Apologists for False Commentary
Paul Street
The Obama Presidency Gets Some Early High Historiography
Kathy Deacon
Me, My Parents and Red Scares Long Gone
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Rexless Abandon
Andrew Levine
Good Enemies Are Hard To Find: Therefore Worry
Jim Kavanagh
What to Expect From a Trump / Kim Summit
Ron Jacobs
Trump and His Tariffs
Joshua Frank
Drenched in Crude: It’s an Oil Free For All, But That’s Not a New Thing
Gary Leupp
What If There Was No Collusion?
Matthew Stevenson
Why Vietnam Still Matters: Bernard Fall Dies on the Street Without Joy
Robert Fantina
Bad to Worse: Tillerson, Pompeo and Haspel
Brian Cloughley
Be Prepared, Iran, Because They Want to Destroy You
Richard Moser
What is Organizing?
Scott McLarty
Working Americans Need Independent Politics
Rohullah Naderi
American Gun Violence From an Afghan Perspective
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
Why Trump’s Tariff Travesty Will Not Re-Industrialize the US
Ted Rall
Democrats Should Run on Impeachment
Robert Fisk
Will We Ever See Al Jazeera’s Investigation Into the Israel Lobby?
Kristine Mattis
Superunknown: Scientific Integrity Within the Academic and Media Industrial Complexes
John W. Whitehead
Say No to “Hardening” the Schools with Zero Tolerance Policies and Gun-Toting Cops
Edward Hunt
UN: US Attack On Syrian Civilians Violated International Law
Barbara Nimri Aziz
Iraq Outside History
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: The Long Hard Road
Victor Grossman
Germany: New Faces, Old Policies
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the US Invasion
Binoy Kampmark
Amazon’s Initiative: Digital Assistants, Home Surveillance and Data
Chuck Collins
Business Leaders Agree: Inequality Hurts The Bottom Line
Jill Richardson
What We Talk About When We Talk About “Free Trade”
Eric Lerner – Jay Arena
A Spark to a Wider Fire: Movement Against Immigrant Detention in New Jersey
Negin Owliaei
Teachers Deserve a Raise: Here’s How to Fund It