Growing up there were always people begging on the streets of boulder. Often you would see the same people in the same spots year after year. There is one guy on Pearl Street who is missing a leg or two who has been begging in front of the Boulder Bookstore as long as I can remember. There is the guy who stood at the intersection of Baseline and the 28th St off ramp. My dad saw this guy buying liquor at the booze store all the time. There was always people lazying on the lawn in front of the court house (until they made the grass off limits) or on the stage by the creek. The one thing all these people seemed to have in common was a hard life. You could see it in their eyes.
Recently I have noticed a change in the kind of people you find on the streets and the numbers. First off the numbers have been steadily rising. There are so many now that there aren’t enough corners in the city for them all to have their own. I often see groups of them sitting under a tree while one member of the group stands at the street corner. Secondly they seem to be god dang lazy. I rarely see any that look like they have been through anything truly difficult. For the most part they seem like they are just too lazy to work and find it easier to prey on the not so smart tourist that come to Boulder. I first really noticed this when I was doing school work at the Starbucks on Pearl Street Mall during a snow storm. There was a large group of them sitting by near me. They all had huge backpacks full of expensive stuff. One guy had a Dell gaming computer and was playing World of Warcraft. I have been back to this same Starbucks a few times and continue to see the same thing. The WOW guy is always in there playing his game.
All of this leads me to who is really homeless and who is choosing to live on the streets for no other reason than it is free. It will be interesting to see what the police do come tourist season. I have already noticed an increase in their presence in the areas that are heavy with street people.
*I took all of these photo’s from inside Starbucks where I was supposed to be doing school work, but mostly just watched the people on the street.