June 26, 2005

Free Your Mind*

Went to the Pride Parade and Party in San Francisco with some of the Sandia interns today. After we emerged from the BART station, I immediately smelled this marijuana haze over the city. We got a late start and only saw the last few floats of the parade, but marched into the streets with the masses towards the rest of the city. It seems that standard law enforcement has no real power (or maybe just regard) with respect to drugs today. I saw a guy smoke up next to me with two police officers standing just 5 feet to my side. He didn't seem at all perplexed when he saw me watching him, or when the officers turned his way seconds later. There were also tons of people selling pot brownies and magic chocolate chip cookies, and many of those familiar ice cream vendors selling more of.. well, I don't even know what they were selling, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't drumbsticks.

We all got food from a few of the many stands near the Civic Center, and sat down to watch the crowds. We saw a lot of guys wearing just thongs walk by, which by the end of the day seemed natural, if not too conservative attire. After food and some quality people watching, we set off to see what else the city had to offer. It's not every day you can walk down city streets without any sign of traffic. Whenever I go into the city, I feel terribly small - the buildings tower over me, passerbys pay no heed to my existence, and I'm a complete victim to the structure of traffic control, obeying the red and green lights like a machine. Today I felt as though people rose above the machines, and even if only for a few hours, owned the city.

We walked around the streets for a few more hours, once stopping into an S&M booth to check out the new trends in leather, spikes, and chains. Beyond S&M, there were sex toy booths, condoms and lubricant everywhere, and even a Catholic group that advertised their inclusionary stance. I took a few fliers from the Church lady because I wanted to see what their church had to say. The fliers were dissapointingly vague. Still, I was pleasantly surprised to at least see Catholic and inclusion on the same piece of paper. Maybe there is hope... wait a minute, I'm in San Francisco. Anything goes.

We got back to the Civic Center just in time to hear Third Eye Blind perform a good set, followed by En Vogue. I was surprised to know they were still around, and even more surprised that I recognized not one, but two of their songs. After they played, things pretty much died down, and we took the BART back towards home. A few of the interns and myself got Thai food at Lemon Grass, and discussed the troubled state of our nation with regard to education, foreign relations, and big business. I think we could have talked for a few days about who to blame and how to fix things, but the restaurant kicked us out at closing, and so the problems will last for at least a while longer.

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