Jon Fellman, 50-something, acupuncturist:
Fellman doesn’t celebrate Christmas (he’s Jewish) but wishes “for this pandemic to end” in the spirit of the holiday. “It would free up a lot of things,” he said. The pandemic was also responsible for loss of his acupuncture practice, although that was the second time. His first loss was due to a fire; he had an office at Mission and 22nd streets. An end to the pandemic might also help sustain Adobe Books at 3130 24th St., where he is a long-time volunteer, as it seeks non-profit status. “We’re just trying to survive,” he said.
Jose Estevez, 25, barista at Grand Cafe:
Estevez wants a PlayStation 5, or PS5™, for Christmas. Part of the pull factor, he said, is that “it’s hard to get, and a little expensive.” But it’s worth it for the family or his nephew, he added (wink, wink).
There’s one particular game he would play on a new PS5, should Santa deliver: “Demon’s Souls.” “You’re, like, a medieval knight [in the game],” he said. It’s been remade a few times across the generations of PlayStations and, as a self-described game aficionado who cut his teeth on Nintendo 64 and earlier PlayStations, Estevez is excited to play the new version. “I’m really attuned to the art of how they develop games,” he said.
Rami Jaiswal, 25, software developer:
Jaiswal has a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and she wants a “smooth and safe recovery” so she can paraglide again. That was how she tore the knee ligament in the first place, having made it halfway through paragliding lessons in Milpitas before the fateful injury. Originally inspired by watching paragliders soar over Fort Funston, she can’t wait to get back to it after the 8 to 11 months of recovery ahead. “It’s terrifying but fulfilling,” she said.
Joseph Enright, 36, apartment hunter:
Enright was waiting to see an apartment when he spoke with Mission Local, and he said an ideal gift would be a new vinyl record or two. With a collection of some 400 records already taking up a sizable piece of his apartment, that’s something he’ll take into consideration while looking at new spaces. His favorite albums are disco, especially from ABBA and Sylvester. “I’ve always loved disco,” he said. “It makes me happy.”
Olga Boiko, co-owner of CoffeeShop, fixes a reporter up iced matcha and stops midway to ponder the question. What does she want for Christmas for her business, or for herself? Boiko asked. Either. Her answers seem to touch both: “For our city to be better to small businesses. To be less rigid — take less time to open,” she said. She paused again, deep in thought. “I want the city to strive to be clean … and young again, with college kids back, and more music, and more art, and more community events.”
Mia, a woman with soft eyes and cropped, lavender hair strolls down South Van Ness Avenue and heads into the Mission, where she works. Her Christmas wish: “I wish we had the illusion of safety back. Do you know what I mean? We never were really safe. And I haven’t seen my grandkids in two years.”
Mei Ng, 51, seamstress:
“I hope the world will be peaceful, the epidemic will pass, and my original life will be returned,” said Ng. “I’m just one of those ordinary people with no greater aspirations.”
Angelica Palacios, 25, AT&T sales representative:
“I guess just stability. Lately, especially since Covid-19 and the election, everything is on the rocks. Stable jobs are hard to get; stable housing has been really hard to find,” said Palacios. “The community, the whole world, has been very separated. People are just out for themselves. Everyone is just going their own way. It’s not the same anymore. You can really feel that. People are losing trust in each other.”
Abdiel Delapez, 20, AT&T sales representative:
“I wanna go see my family. They live in Oregon. That’s a nine-hour drive and I don’t drive. I think I’m gonna stay by myself for Christmas,” said Delapez. “There’s really nothing else I want for Christmas, except for seeing my family. Maybe Next year.”
Henry Chen, 57, bakery owner:
“I want the outbreak to end and life to go back to normal. It is not good to discriminate against Asian businessmen. Don’t discriminate against us. We are working very hard to cooperate with you!”
Felipe Reyes, “El señor de los taquitos de canasta”:
Before all else, Felipe Reyes wants his health for Christmas. He came to the United States from Mexico City for a kidney transplant 18 years ago, which he finally got after several years of dialysis. “God willing, on Jan. 6, I will celebrate six years with my new kidney,” Reyes said in Spanish. “Gracias a Dios.”
Although he hasn’t seen his family since leaving home, and has no idea when he might see them again, Reyes is grateful that he is able to work and support his three daughters back home. “That’s why we’re here, fighting for them.”
Josefa Beatriz Almazán Romero, street sweeper:
When asked what she wants for Christmas, Romero answered with little hesitation. “A husband.” She burst out laughing and quipped in Spanish, “New year, new man!”
But more seriously, Romero wants a job opportunity. Once a truck driver in Mexico, she volunteered in Venezuela and worked “around the world” before landing in San Francisco. These days she is a street sweeper with the nonprofit Downtown Streets Team. A friend helps her out with extra cash.
“I’m in a shelter, I have food, I have a free bus pass, I have health care. Materially, I don’t need anything. What I need is a job,” Romero said, and joked: “And lots of money, nothing more.”