emma b. says

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sunday in the park

Today was the Pride Parade, so a giddy shout out to the gays. And a hooray for my fair city.

But I am increasingly leery of crowds, no matter how fabulous and nearly naked, so I went westward into the park.

I love urban parks, but my love of Golden Gate park is well documented and abiding, I have ambled over paths and greens, through all kinds of weather and through every season. It's been positively summery this past week, I find myself combing through my drawers in search of suitable clothing.

Out the door and thrumb through the hippies and the tourists to the Pan Handle, swing left at the Eucalyptus, past the burning man bandshell, scold self, meant to check out the festivities at the opening, up to JFK drive.

The sight of the closed road always gives me a quiet thrill, I can walk down the middle of the street, amongst the people on bikes and the people on skates. I wander over to the dahlia beds to check on their progress. They are beginning to shoot up on their sturdy stalks, then they'll erupt in gaudy stars in a month or so. Across the road I can hear the pok pok of tennis balls at the tennis club.

I notice to my left they have demolished that square of pavement where the skaters of all stripes, especially 1970's stripes come out in their wee togs to get their freak on. I wonder where they went.

I hear music at the bandshell and detour past the museum, which I think of as my museum, even though most of the permanent collection is not to my taste and the galleries are confusingly laid out, quibbles really. What I like best is the garden.

I love the bandshell, and wondering through the sandy paths in between the very old plane trees to come upon it. The Golden Gate band was playing a waltz for the several dozen grey hairs clustered on benches in the shade. I sat. They are old themselves, I wondered who would come along after they had faded into dotage, and who would play those old waltzes and marches, and how I wished that prince charming would come along and ask me to dance. When he didn't and they finished I went up to the museum which is the best place to pee in the park. You go in through the side entrance in the garden and then through the cafe. There was a jazz trio in the main hall playing beneath that dizzy inducing painting by gerhard something or other. I was admiring the boy on trumpet, because I am a strumpet - ok, I'll stop now.

Back out into the sunshine I find the where the skaters have relocated their freak flag... To the bridge, I think they must have displaced the swing dancers, I idly consider a war a la westside story between the swing dancers... Skaters win, hands down. I don't mean to be derogatory - well, just a little - but a lot of that is envy, I wish I could twirl on skates and not fall down, they were playing old school Michael Jackson and it was really hard to minimize the bounce in my ounce as the music followed me down the hill. I swing to the right to admire the waning rose garden and inhale the ailing blooms, there are couples and children and other languages and I feel suddenly very naked and very raw, and I make haste from that lovely space, but before I can escape a french couple ask me where the hell they are. And I tell them in french just exactly where they are and how to get out, but not before they visit the observatory at the museum, on a day like today you can see for miles. The thanks were profuse and I declined an invitation for a verre, I had wanderlust, you see, but I do hope that they heeded my advice.

Up the hill, just before the turn out to stowe lake there was an enormous violet pink head in the middle of the meadow... well, from the nose up. (that meadow has a loo, I do not endorse this loo)

I turn left up the access road to stowe lake, where I note they have expanded their bike, and various wheeled contraption business, and business appears to brisk, from all of the recumbant bikes that have nearly mowed me over.

I buy two hot dog buns from the concession stand to feed the ducks. Poor stowe lake, terrible algae problem, nuclear green on a good day, I worry over the ducks and the coots, and I only saw one lonesome coot, hollering forlornly amidst the awkward row boats and careening paddle boats. It's such a pretty far away kind of little promenade, inspite of the algae, bridges and chinese pavillions and waterfalls and turtles, is it any wonder that it is a favorite for the elderly Russians pacing the lake to the beat of a geriatric metronome and memories of constitutionals in sacrificed lands. And I walk on, always feeling hyper aware of the relative youth coursing through my veins as I sidestep their shuffling gait.

Back out on JFK I am starting to feel my ankle, I fear I might begin to shuffle, but I am going to power on, I take the short cut path behind the Tea Garden to get to the arboretum, nothing is in bloom, but it is always amusing to watch the squirrels, and stroke the weird tree.

The thing about people in parks in that they are unexpectedly everywhere. And I wonder, when I see people sprawled in peculiar corners what compelled you to drop anchor in that spot, in states of dress and undress and lassitude and randyness. I think I should like to have someone to preambulate with, but then again, I do love my solitary jaunts. With the sun on my face I am listening - overheard, child to mother - can I pee in the lake? mother, jesus, no. Which reminds me, the facilities at the lake are new and clean, endorsed for a pee. Which is why I don't have an ipod, I like to listen to the world, to the blackbirds singing and the omnipresent dry rasp of the crows and the sirens in the distance, snatches of conversations in other tongues and my own, it makes a lovely juxtoposition to my own silence. Makes me feel part of the world.

I'd go to the Tea Garden, but I only brought enough cash for buns and water, I am lured back to the band shell by the sound of tango. People are dancing. I sit in the shade and watch, Prince Charming doesn't come round to ask me to dance and I am left yearning, for I sorely would love to tango, even more than to waltz. I take a card, as one never knows.

Back up JFK the skaters have gotten tipsy on the sun and the heady warmth radiating from the pavement, they have moved on from Michael Jackson to early nineties hip hop, again, I struggle to contain my hips. I veer right through the tennis courts, watch a lady with good game and ass to die for for awhile. My ankle is throbbing and my pace is slowed, cursed cankle, I'll ice you when I get home you cantankerous old bitch.

The tennis courts bleed ironically into sharon meadow, known as hippy hill, skirted with further irony by the lawn bowling, and apparently there is a little known law that all lawn bowlers must wear their pants high with a belt and suspenders. It's true. Another game I'd like to learn, maybe I am just terribly nostalgic for the genteel. Gloves and hats and all of that.

Anyhoodle, the drummers are drumming on hippy hill, it is it's usual confounding cacophony of discordant instrumentalists and the stoned white girls who adore them. Frisbies fly through the air, hacky sacks are hacked, unleashed dogs maraud in packs, merchants are hawking their bud, the cops let them be. It's benevolent chaos for the most part, nobody wants jinx the sunshine, the wrath of the fog is swift and icy.

By this time in the late afternoon the Haight has been besieged by the gays, and they have brought with them a jubilee, I thread my way through the youngsters and the oldsters and all the trim, and quim and cock, to my home where I throw open the windows to listen to the bodies on the street and ice my ankle, all the while keeping my silence to myself.

and scene.


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