Tuesday, August 21, 2007

San Francisco Pride

I rode my motorcycle to San Francisco and all I got was this T-shirt.

which, actually, i love. the shirt is the negative of that jpg image, which is fine in a place like san francisco where the summer temperatures are around 75 F. in dallas, we make white t-shirts for pride because (even though we have pride in the early fall) it's still blazing freaking hot and nobody wants to wear a black t-shirt when it's 100 out. seriously, rain is an improvement on the weather at dallas pride, because it keeps the temperatures tolerably low.

After tooling around Napa Valley all day Saturday, attending the Dykes on Bikes Pride Party, and eating lovely seafood at Fisherman's Pier on Saturday evening, we queued up for the parade bright and squirrelly Sunday morning. The DoB (aka: San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent) were very excited because they finally were near the end of their struggle with the US Trademark office to protect the name of the organization and make their unofficial name into the official name. The parade draws 400 or so bikes every year, and about a million spectators, and that requires a pretty high level of organization. ORGANIZED We had to stage up between 7 and 8 to start the parade at 10. I am NOT, repeat NOT a "morning person". My day usually only has one 5 in it. Verily, it has also only one 6 in it. On this day, I was ON. MY. BIKE. at 6 AM. And in case you'd forgotten, San Francisco is COLD in the summer. It's especially cold in the dawn's early light.

Proudly Sleeping

But I lined up, I got my coffee, and then I lay down for a nap. And, no, I didn't spill any of that coffee. Apparently, the nap created something of a stir. I, naturally, was dead asleep and didn't know that I'd created a stir until the sun started peeking over the tall buildings of Market St. and woke me up. Taking Pictures of the Picture Takers But my girlfriend and her friends thought it was so funny that people kept stopping to take my picture that they took pictures of the people taking pictures. I picked up a passenger for the parade, and we had a great time riding down the route and waving at all the people. One of my favorite features of the parade is that the Dykes on Bikes go first. If you've ever driven a stick-shift in gridlocked traffic, you know how not-fun it is to do stop-and-go in first gear. it's really awful on a bike because your clutch is operated by your left hand, and you eventually get a cramp in it, no matter how many times you've squeezed those grip exercisers that were ubiquitous in the 80's. where did they go? anyway, with the bikes at the front, they get to set the pace and they don't have to stop every time a marching band out front decides to hold up the parade so they can grandstand for the ... um ... grandstand.

After the parade, we went to the Pride festival. It wasn't drastically different from any other Pride festival i've ever attended except that it was very big and I'd heard of the bands that were playing. Oh, and it was cool out. People were in the most AMAZING costumes, elaborate things made of feathers and glitter and paint that would've totally melted in the Texas heat but which were made possible by all the cold water out in San Francisco bay. And city hall was flying a pride flag out front. That was pretty damn amazing. Not only was I proud, but the whole city was proud with me. I'm not sure I can explain how that feels, but it's kinda like how it felt when I was in survival school in the Air Force and at the very end of the week we spent as POW's in an "internment" camp, our formation was ordered to about-face. we expected to see the People's Republic of Berzerkistan (thanks to Gary Trudeau of Doonesbury for that very awesome fictional country name) flag that had been flying overhead all week and which we'd been forced to salute and pledge allegiance to. But the US flag was flying there instead. We all cried a little. It's like coming home, but it's more... it's a like a homecoming you desperately need don't dare hope for because you knew it can't happen... and then it does.

Pride City

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