In this feature, the Club introduces you to people you see every day, but you might not know who they are. The Club reminds you that we all have names and stories to tell.
This month’s “People We See” was conducted by Club CEO John Hawkins Nov. 9, 2018 at the corner of Stanford and Fifth Streets downtown. John gave Bruce food, water and $20 for expenses.
Bruce Watson, 58, was born and raised in California and attended Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles. He had two brothers and three sisters; both brothers have passed away due to what Bruce calls “street life.” Two of his sisters are still alive, but unfortunately the third sister just passed away from cancer.
I asked Bruce what he would change if he could go back in time and do things over. “That’s impossible,” he said. “I would have had to have had different parents, and so that’s impossible.”
His memory of the first time living on the street goes back to when he was 11, caused by “domestic issues, problems at home. The problems at home started a cycle of dysfunctional thinking” that he said he still battles today. “I was born and bred on dysfunction, but I’m trying to be functional; it’s a war.” He sees his current dysfunctional state as a phase, and that anything we go through in life is just a phase.
Where does he want to be five years from now? “I want to be sitting in a rocking chair with my grandkids … I want to be off of skid row.
I asked Bruce what he feels the main problem is on the street – drugs or mental illness? He said he thinks it’s 50/50. He feels the number-one drug on the street is alcohol. His friend Aaron said it’s crystal meth.
Bruce closed by saying that he hopes that maybe someone who sees this interview could see what not to do. “You have to listen to your parents, and you pretty much know right from wrong. You can take the right and operate from that and disregard the wrong.
“Don’t get stuck in things that happened to you in the past.”