The Poobah family took a little day trip today. We braved the low fog and wind-driven San Francisco chill to follow a route called the 49 Mile Scenic Drive. Supposedly designed to take you to some of the more scenic spots in the city, we discovered there is literally no way to follow the map provided. Streets go one way – the wrong way, there are few signs, and in some cases the signs actually point in the wrong direction.
After a fair amount of backtracking trial and error, I decided to just freelance it and go on without a map. Mrs. Poobah, a stickler for structure and rules, valiantly kept trying to lead us back on track, but I finally persuaded her to let it go before the map drove her crazy. I’m convinced that if she’d been with Lewis and Clark, they’d still be trying to get out of St. Louis for lack of a proper map.
Relying on a little automotive orienteering, we wound our way cross town, through Haight Ashbury, around Lake Merced, and to the ocean where it was bitterly cold and foggy. As usual, the wet-suited surfers were out turning blue and a few hearty souls were laying out in bikinis and swim trunks working on their “fog tans”. The more sensible folk wore heavy coats and a few even sported balaclavas to ward off the chill. All in all, a typical summer beach day for San Francisco.
From the beach, we tracked back across town. We zigged here and zagged there and generally saw quite a few things we’d never seen before, even if we had taken part of the same route before.
When we arrived in the central part of the city, we became entangled in the Gay Pride Day festivities. This was the 37th year for a mammoth parade – always led by a lesbian motorcycle group called Dykes on Bikes. A few years ago, they were joined by Mikes on Bikes, a male motorcycle group.
Lots of chanting and some speechifying here and there. Most streets were either closed for the Rainbow flag bedecked folk or choked with everyone from hetero families out for the day, like us, to a bizillion others of every orientation letting their freak flags fly. It was a very San Francisco kind of day.
I like the fact that I live in a place where congregations like this are normal and natural. There was no violence. Everyone, gay and straight alike, mingled and talked. The participants ran the gamut from the serious AIDS quilters to the more lighthearted men wearing nun’s habits and full beards. It was a day to throw beads or flowers instead of bombs or epithets.
Other than taking forever to find an unblocked way out of the city, it was an excellent day. The sun finally came out, no pun intended, and everyone had a good time. In the back of my mind I kept remembering the asshats who want to muck all this up – literally rain on this parade – but I tried to return to the moment and enjoy what was going on while I could. I wanted to just concentrate on the goodness and forget, for a day anyway, the badness that all too often seems to attach itself to events like this. And for the most part, I was successful.
I guess you could say the family and I just had a gay old time.