Sunday, June 29, 2008

party in the castro

i don't have good memories of events in the castro -- hallowe'en two years in a row was a disaster. the first year, i was bombarded by the fumes of burning white sage, which drives my head bonkers and makes me want to vomit. the following year crowding and gunshots made the night a scary time, and not in a "boo!" way.

so, i was a bit skeptical about the pride party in castro on saturday. but i biked over to see what was going on and meet up with people. it was worth it.

first, it wasn't ridiculously crowded. second, the live and canned music was simply fantastic. the freedom band played with gusto and their dancing baton throwers were marvelous. but i want to focus on two stories of sweet obsessiveness. my role as the observer really reminded me of poe's purloined letter, but more on that another time.

the river dance kids

when i first got to the event i saw these two young adults (maybe university students) intently staring at each other as they coordinated a paired river dance, kicking and bobbing their bodies in sync while staring deep into each other's eyes. it was highly coordinated, and very amusing.

what was odd was that two hours later i came by the same spot and they were still doing it! the girl took a big swig of water this time, and after i told neha that i had seen them doing the exact same thing two hours ago, she thought they were definitely on something more than a dance kick.

perhaps. new people were around them, taking in their hypnotic version of the river dance. i couldn't help thinking that regardless of the condition of their heads today, their legs are going to be in a lot pain.

the tender gay couple

staying power was certainly one of the themes of the night. for instance, between 18th and market on castro a number of people had opened up the windows of their houses and proceeded to put on quite a show. asses shook. bodies flailed. howling was de rigeur.

this one bare chested man, high above the fray, had the most beautiful smile, and forced his chest out the window and implored the crowd, in a boisterous but kingly way, to be happy and enjoy. we were trying, and doing quite well, i think. then i spied the tender gay couple.

two men, late forties or early fifties. they held each other fairly close, and were looking, with sweet, kind eyes, at the bare chested smiley man hanging out the window, high above the throng.

at first i thought: "isn't that cute!" the couple had a shared slight smile, and they looked at peace and quite content. bare chested smiley man and tender couple really made my night.

then, an hour later, i ran into the tender couple. can you guess where they were looking? they had not moved! their legs were like cement and i tell you they were oblivious to me stumbling into them. their eyes were laser-like, focused on bare chested smiley man, who continued to survey his kingdom.

the castro. it felt like a wonderfully fun community. even the obsessive behavior was pleasant. i think i'll make this the yearly event and skip hallowe'en.

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