It's the Monday after Bay to Breakers, a debaucherous annual trot across San Francisco, where the entire city wakes up at eight in the morning to heckle 60,000 runners in better shape than they are, all while drinking beer for breakfast. In other words, today figures to be a long, long day. My liver: still soggy.
But a nice, molasses-style hangover is a small price to pay for Bay to Breakers. I think every city needs one. Or something like it. It's like Mardi Gras, except with more uppity Berkeley-ites trying to convert you to some unreasonable political stance while you're taking a swallow of Zinnfandel from a plastic sack. So many of our holidays and festivals are spent inside with our families that it's really a joy to see everyone outside, making bad decisions together. Unity in idiocy, sort of. I'm not sure there's anything wrong with that.
And I think you get an interesting view into your city's character when you've rousted everyone awake before church and handed them a mimosa. Sometimes, this awareness comes in tandem with a staggering amount of shriveled nudity. So be it. I learned (or, relearned, rather), that I live in one of the most enjoyable places in America, a place where, when so much of the country seems hellbent on eliminating fun, we still appreciate early morning drunkenness, inappropriate paper mache floats, and Frank Chu. I forget that sometimes, what with all the more-liberal-than-thou posturing that goes on around these parts which, quite frankly, does get good things done, but, really: no fun. It's a happy mix if it works: on one hand, you can have the democratizing principles of a Board of Supervisors, community meetings, town halls, and the like, while on the other hand you have, um, old-man nutsacks swaying in the wind.
(Which reminds me: I've got no problem with public nudity, per se. Actually, that might be a lie. But what I really get weirded out by is the naked man in his late 50s, walking an 8-mile road race by himself just staring at you. It's creepy. It's like he's daring you to do...something. I don't know what. But if Wes Craven made a horror movie about a naked, withered, old dude, he should send his casting director to San Francisco.)
My point? It's like that R.E.M. song "Stand In the Place Where You Live." Or, as the case may be, sit at a desk making charts about expert testimony in the place where you live. In fact, it's nothing like that. Or maybe it is. I just know the chorus. But yesterday re-energized me on the place where I live. And if all it takes in a pre-noon hangover and some decidedly clumsy wiffleball-ing, sign me up for 2008. And aught nine for that matter.