I’ve been focusing coverage on the community of City Heights, which comprises sixteen of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods and roughly 80,000 residents from dozens of countries. The community’s cultural and socioeconomic diversity make it a fascinating place in which to spend hours at a time just observing. You notice markers of that diversity and the community at large in the idiosyncrasies of daily life that often don’t elicit a second glance.
One of those is the prevalence of wire pushcarts. In City Heights, walking is the only form of local transportation for many low-income residents. That poses particular challenges for people running day-to-day errands — from grocery shopping to laundry mat trips. It’s not uncommon to see a Somali woman walking down University Avenue with a bag of laundry slung over her back or a Mexican man dragging a bag of cans to the local recycling center. In City Heights, the wire pushcart is a panacea of sorts for the difficulties arising out those daily tasks.
I spent a few hours Thursday walking around City Heights on the lookout for wire pushcarts and their diversity of uses.
Shauna Lowe was leaving the recycling center at the intersection of University and Highland avenues with $6.86 in her hand after cashing in a bag of aluminum cans a friend had given her.
She’s been homeless since June, trying to get into a detox program so she can reclaim her son from Child Protective Services by a mid-April deadline. Until a month ago she had been carrying four bags containing all of her belongings on her back. “My shoulder can’t take the weight of my bags,” she said. “I don’t know how to do this homeless thing very well.”