Ralph's was closed when I went there at 12 in the morning. I thought it might be. Recently they have cut back their hours substantially. I hope it's because they've been weakened by the recent strike, or because they can't find employees to replace those they locked out. Having no desire to go right back to the apartment, I continued wandering, crossing the upper tier of the parking lot.
There were a few cars parked at the end of the lot, probably employees working overnight, and a murky-looking fountain which may or may not have contained change. Outside the Chinese fast-food place was a table that hadn't been cleared. I wondered if there was anything edible left (if I were living on the street, would there be something for me to eat?) and went over. One of the plates was mostly full. Lots of meat.
For a moment I felt an impulse to eat it, just sit down at the table like a lunch customer and eat someone's garbage. I decided not to. It was a cool night and the food was still edible, probably. Will I have to do it for real someday soon?
I decided to see if one of the other supermarkets was open all night. It seemed at first that everything was closed. When I was surprised to see an OPEN sign, it was in a bail bond place, the window surrounded in double neon and fogged up like a storefront in a James Doolin painting. Was this also to be my future?
The supermarket wasn't open. But along the same street I'd come was a small market which was open 24 hours. I looked in to see a man reading a newspaper, and spent a minute looking at the store's stock through the windows. He motioned for me to come in, but I just waved and kept looking from outside... I felt my presence was intimidating enough and I didn't wish to make him more uneasy by actually entering his store.
Getting near home, I passed a building called 'Dream Palace' which was of unknown purpose, and crossed the street to avoid a man sandblasting the sidewalk. On impulse I turned down an alley I'd never been down before, beside a church. I wondered again where the homeless go during the night. Down by the railroad tracks, in the industrial zone? Behind dumpsters? And would I need to learn this for myself eventually?