We drove up the coastal highway yesterday. Picked up our rental car at noon and headed over the Golden Gate Bridge north to wine country. We opted out of taking the main highway and wound our way instead along the coast. Two extra hours of driving, but we had no time table, no must be’s or do’s to dictate our time. It was divine.
Before we left San Francisco we wandered down to Maraket Street to watch the Pride Parade. It was wild. One million people come out to witness the event — in a city of 700,000 that’s pretty spectacular!
The parade iself is one huge spectacle of noise and colour and bodies wearing, or not wearing, rainbow colours and every other colour that suited their fancy. There was a lot of fancy everywhere including one man riding his bicycle wearing nothing other than the suit he was born in. I wondered if he was wearing sunscreen, everywhere.
You needed it yesterday. Sunscreen. The sun shone out of a cloudless sky.The air was warm and silky. The streets were filled with people, all vying for position to get a glimpse of the parade.
There were also the prerequisite protesters. A woman standing on an upturned crate at the corner of Powell and Market Street singing, ‘Jesus Loves You!’. Around her a bevy of people stood waving placards that said things like “Homo sex is a sin.” “Homo’s are a threat to national security.” And around them, another group in a circle, facing inward, yelling out, “We’re homo’s and Jesus loves us too!”
I was curious about the ‘threat to national security’ bit but C.C. suggested I not stop and ask for clarification. I decided to listen to him as an altercation flared up between one man from the group asserting his right to express his sexual orientation and a man wanting to deny that right. Placards fell, bodies shoved and we moved out of the line of scrimmage.
It was all rather fascinating and as one man said to me as we stood at the edge of the street waiting for the parade to pass-by, ‘It must be very painful to hold such rigid views. Perhaps they forget, we are all part of the rainbow of life. Everyone of us. Maybe a little less black and white and a bit more colour would be helpful.’
I liked that man. We chatted for awhile. He and his wife come to watch the parade every year in support of their son. He’s been to the Calgary Stampede a few times. ‘That’s quite the parade you got up there,’ he said and then added with a laugh. ‘But nothing like this!’
And he was right. It was nothing like this. People wearing long tubular balloons cascading from their backs like jelly fish fronds floating in the water. Men in drag. Men in skimpy swim suits, their bodies painted in rainbow hues. And men wearing nothing but paint. Women too. Their bodies painted in multi-coloured hues, shimmering with glitter and sparkle paint. They rode Harley’s and Hondas and bicycles and trucks and everything conceivable. And not one horse.
Definitely not the Calgary Stampede.
And, with all the paint and glitter, they didn’t need sunscreen.
But I did and I forgot. C.C. had a ball cap. I stood, my face naked to the sun and oohed and aahed and yelled and cheered as people and floats and cheerleaders and almost naked marching bands passed by.
And then, I sat in the open car, the sun and wind streaming down as we drove north along the coast, through rolling hills and curving road towards Sonaoma County.
It was divine. We drove through groves of fagrant treess and lush valleys. Up over hillsides that opened into vistas of ocean glistening out into the horizon. We drove around curves that inspired oohs and aahs and Stop! Just one more photoo.
But I should have been wearing sunscreen.
This morning, my nose is a pretty red and my forehead somewhat coloured too. Perhaps it’s the rainbow in me coming out. Or maybe, it’s just I forgot my new face cream doesn’t contain sunblock.
I’ll be wearing sunscreen today. It will make a difference!