Our destination this morning was the Castro, the gay capital of the world. The neighborhood of Castro was once the center of gay life and struggle for acceptance; but now, having lost many gay-residents to the suburbs, it is inundated with invading straights.
I was hoping for some racy stuff: sex shops, half-naked buffed-up men, male strippers – something! But instead found a prim and proper, even bourgeois neighborhood with many gay and straight couples taking their babies on a Sunday stroll.
Once we stepped off the main street, the neighborhood became even less radical and more upscale. Ornate houses lined the hilly and winding streets. A full range of paints: periwinkle blue, magenta, lavender, violet, purple, yellow – every happy shade of the rainbow was represented on the dolled up houses. No antidepressants needed – just walk out and gaze at your fairytale home. Gay people definitely carry a gene for the higher level of aesthetics.
As for the weirdos, the first prize today goes to a skinny older man clad in a white caftan with his blue jeans sticking from under it, a knitted hat pulled over his ears, and several crosses gracing his chest. He approached our group and wished us all a very Merry Christmas, and some Happy Hanukkah “to our Jewish friends,” and “Happy Kwanza to our African American friends, and Happy Greek Orthodox Christmas to those who celebrate it, and Happy Other Holidays to all who celebrate them.” If this is not true Christmas spirit, what is?
An honorable mention goes to a panhandler with a sign, “Why lie? This is for beer.”