The other day, a homeless man threw up all over me in the lobby of the Sony Metreon. I firmly believe that this is due to the negligence of Sony, and I want $90 to replace my vomit-coated jacket.
The Sony Metreon, here in San Francisco, is a huge megaplex (read mutli-storied shameless advertisement/temple to Sony) of cinema screens including an IMAX, stores, video arcades and an unchecked parade of humanity on the edge. I hear it’s the only one of its kind anywhere. Thank the Lord for small favors.
The Metreon is located South of Market, which is an up-and-coming city neighborhood, a warehouse district making good. Lofts, hip clubs and hotels abound, especially in the areas nearest to Market Street with its enticing shopping where it intersects Third Street.
Our homeless population is not shy, and they know a good thing when they see it. And people streaming in and out of the Metreon day and night equals a potentially very steady income. So they gather on the corner just outside the lobby doors and wait for ten-dollar movie go-ers and kids with extra videogame money.
Well, it was a dark and not stormy night when my two girlfriends and I decided to see a 9 pm showing of the "Da Vinci Code." It was a fun movie- action packed and definitely entertaining- and I also found the most darling hot pink Chinese silk carrying case for my laptop at the Sony store. So there we were, the well-tressed trio, at around midnight walking out of the theater.
The lobby was dead. No people, no security, and a single teen manning the movie box office. As we reached the lobby doors, a homeless man staggered towards us. Before I knew what was happening, he lunged at me and threw up all over me. I don’t just mean a trickle- it was like Omen-style projectile vomit. Bright yellow. I was absolutely covered. I think I screamed. Then I danced around frantically yet carefully pulling off my Patagonia fleece jacket. I was covered, my jacket was sopping, and there was vomit all over me just under my chin coating my throat and the two t-shirts I was wearing underneath, plus my purse.
The homeless man looked very sheepish and held out his hand to offer a single, crumpled filthy Starbucks napkin to help. Bless his heart.
I ran to the nearest bathroom; my girlfriends followed. The bathroom was closed for cleaning but in I burst. The woman cleaning it was not pleased, but what could I to do? AIDS, Hep-C… they were all seeping into my skin. Fabulous girls that they are, my friends tried to help me clean up. And do you know what’s FUN when you’re coated in warm vomit? Playing get-the-sink-to-turn-on with those supposedly motion-activated knob-less sinks. We threw out the jacket but I couldn’t just strip down. So, leaving that bathroom a biohazard area (sorry, so sorry to the woman cleaning it), I walked out the doors to the parking garage to my car.
And I drove the 20 minutes home, windows wide open, the violently vile stench of vomit emanating from my throat and the tops of my tee-shirts up through my nasal passages. I will never, ever forget that smell.
And I got home, filled a sink with bleach and every household cleaner I could find, and I soaked my 2 shirts and purse all night. I ended up throwing it all away- (my blue shirt was stained to death- yellow and blue make green, kids…) My laptop bag is okay, though I still haven’t used it. It just sits in my house, pulsating with the threat of vomit like a telltale heart.
And the next day I contacted Sony. I emailed. I called. Their metreon.com website is no longer working. In fact, trying to find anyone to talk to is like trying to hack into Fort Knox. So I began emailing and calling Sony itself. Konnichi wa- vomit desu ka?
Still having received no word, I am blogging to you, dear readers. All I want is for them to foot the bill for a new Patagonia fleece, which doesn’t come cheap. And why? Because I feel that Sony, knowing its neighborhood, should have a single guard at the lobby doors. Sure, it’s a ‘public’ space, a mall, kinda, but there needs to be a sentry at the gate so that vomit-filled Trojan Horses do not get in. Dude, it wasn’t even Trojan (oh my kingdom for bodily fluid protection!) but a very obviously homeless and digestion-in-crisis person whom any guard could have spotted a mile away and turned away. No loitering; no vomiting.
Am I terrible? Am I un-American to want to keep the homeless population out of the Sony Metreon? Maybe this makes me a horrible person, but having been vomited on in the lobby of the Sony Metreon, I appeal to you- don’t let this happen to you. Tough on crime? I want to get tough on vomit, folks. Call me crazy, but I just don’t think that ten dollar movies should come with popcorn, a soda and puke.
Thanks for listening to my awful tale. It has made its way around the city- when I go out with those girlfriends now, their friends are always shocked to meet me- YOU’RE the vomit girl? Because if it could happen to me, it could happen to them. And to you.
To this day, whenever anyone invites me to go to a movie, I don’t ask which movie or what time. All I want to know is where it’s playing. I’ve been kidnapped by zealous Christian missionaries in a village in India, gotten into a screaming match with Madame Chirac’s violent body guards, and stepped over piles of human excrement in a women’s public bathroom on the edge of the Great Wall. But there are some places even I won’t go. And the Sony Metreon is at the top of my list.