Saturday, March 22, 2008

“May I help you out with some herb?”

The scraggly dude squatted down beside us, his eyes big and blue and trustworthy. He patiently adjusted his Raider’s cap against the bright, warm sunlight as we thought about it.

“No thanks.” We replied with a friendly wave. “We’re good.”

With an amiable shrug, he wandered back to blanket to and played with his pitbull and continued a conversation with his beer-drinking friend. From atop our little hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, Diane and I and our helpful neighbor surveyed the scene around and below us.

In the distance, interlocked tantric lovers practiced their art, a self-made island of many pleasures on a vast emerald sea. Closer, a large circle of friends, old and new, sat with knees touching, deep in conversation. Along the sidewalk, a mob of hipster street hustlers–Army boots and duffel bags, menacing silver chains and black leather, big brown dogs and wide-headed drums—seethed in the chaos of social distortion. Beside us on the hill top, a clump of urban warriors sported the latest ninja moves, water pipes, and mullets—the Tenderloin Waterfall; the Lower Haight Corkscrew; the Mission and 18th Split Skunktail. And then there was me and Diane, soaking up the sun and playing our role as the Inner Sunset Homeowner.

All in all, it was a fine, if not typical, afternoon in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood.

We left our seaside campground in Bodega Bay earlier in the morning. Our goal, such as we had, was to drive down Highway 1 until the sun went down into the ocean. And what a spectacular coastal drive it is. I could fill a vault of computer servers describing stretch of road, as it is one of the Most Scenic Drives in America.

But I'll spare us all the trouble. If you get a chance, drive it. Start someplace far north. Aim for somplace far south. Pick a warm and sunny day. Drive it slowly. Stop often. Eat funny food in funny neighborhoods. And talk to strangers. The weirdo you meet might just be you.

1 comment: