I’ve just returned from a quick trip to San Francisco, a week by the bay, where I was satisfyingly warmed by the California sun after months of (relative) freezing in Vancouver. Either I’m getting old and soft, or spending much of last winter in Costa Rica has removed my usual winter hardiness. Or both. Whatever. San Franciscans didn’t seem to feel quite as comfortable as I, however, as they all seemed to be running around in toques and scarves while I was running around in shorts and a t-shirt (or at times, considerably less).
I flew to San Francisco, and as is frequently mentioned in this blog – ad infinitum – I find modern air travel almost irritating enough to just stay home. It’s difficult to say whether my objections are explicity about air travel, or about capitalism generally, for the effects of capitalism are as ever-present in an airport as they are in any suburban strip mall. Or worse. Let’s take, for example, my stop at the Seatte’s Best Coffee outlet in Sea-Tac airport. I ordered a cup of tea and a toasted bagel with cream cheese, not having had an opportunity to enjoy a hearty breakfast before catching my bus at a distinctly unholy hour of the pre-sunrise morning.
Allow me a brief, irrelevant digression on the topic of ordering tea in America. Such a thing is often a challenge, as waiters usually respond to such a request by dropping their arms, and often their jaws (and once, her menu), and exclaiming loudly with wide-eyed incredulity, “Hot Tea?”. Say this to yourself aloud, but with extraordinary emphasis on the word “hot”, preferably with a slight uvular fricative and you’ll be on the right track.
Anyway, I had a choice of two bagel types: plain tasteless plastic, or sesame-coated tasteless plastic, with a tiny thimble of flavourless cheese. They don’t, of course, spread the cheese for you. Instead they give you a plastic container of cheese that has been refrigerated at a temperature of zero degrees Kelvin and is as firm as a TSA agent’s insistence that you remove your shoes at security, despite the fact that you bought the kind with the plastic last that won’t set off the metal detector.
As this is a post-9/11 airport, you are required to spread your cream cheese with a plastic knife, even though the cheese is hard enough to warrant spreading with a good, sturdy pair of box cutters. Not only is the knife plastic, but it is individually wrapped in a plastic sleeve in order to protect you from any bacteria that might have attached itself to the knife during it’s manufacture in the third world. What I want to know is, where was the plastic sleeve made? I have to touch the sleeve to remove it, thereby contaminating my hands, hands that will ultimately need to grip the presumably sterile knife firmly in order to spread the cheese. If the Al Qaida publicists want to foment panic in middle America, they need only announce that they’ve infiltrated the plastic sleeve manufacturing plant and convinced workers not to wash their hands before returning from the washroom.
I’d been invited down to California by my friend Paul, whom I met at a nudist gathering last year in Pennsylvania, in order to participate in the Hunky Jesus contest, a segment of the annual Easter gathering of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence in Dolores Park. Although I was virtually beardless and had recently, mistakenly, had the rear portion of my flowing locks shorn in a failed experiment in follicular fashion management, it sounded like fun, and travelling, even just for a week, was just the pick-me-up I needed. Check out my Picasa page for event photos, if interested.
The contest was loaded with potential hunky Jesuses (or whatever the plural is of the One True God), competing for a prize of $100. Clearly, they go to this effort for the fun, not the money. Here’s a shot of me with Paul (left) and the winner, Kaleb, aka “Michaelangelo’s Jesus”:
I spent several evenings hanging out with Paul, of course, and also managed to get out to San Jose to visit Garry and Pedja, whom I have not seen in a startling number of years, since they decamped Canada for warmer climes and nursing school. As Garry was largely responsible for my first foray into deity impersonation, circa 1995, it was a timely reunion. They took me out for a drive on the coast highway north of Santa Cruz. Here are Garry and Pedja, at the Pigeon Point lighthouse:
While in SF, I also managed the usual visit to City Lights, hung out in various cafes, and visited the Gilbert & George exhibit at the De Young museum. Here’s an example of their work, titled Winter Tongue Fuck: