Okay, so I realize this isn't exactly breaking news, but I feel compelled to share a totally ridiculous story from Beth's Insane Neighborhood.
(Quick aside to remind Loyal Readers that while I like to say I live in "North Beach" the reality is that I live just one block from San Francisco's Pier 39, which is the biggest, noisest tourist trap in the City. Tour buses, drunk vacationing frat boys, fanny packs, rental cars and lost German tourists consulting folded maps are all part of my daily life.)
So there I am, in my apartment, on a weekend. I putter away all Saturday in the house...Sunday comes along and I decide to get out of the apartment, if only to run a few errands and see the world. Plus the traffic and noise outside is incredibly loud, even more so than normal. The noise is a strange combination of motorcycles, tour buses, techno music, shouting and horses trotting by. Horses? Seriously?
I get dressed and head out my front door. And immediately find that only ten feet from my front door is Ground Zero of the North Beach Italian Heritage Parade, which consists of floats, marching bands, Italian flag-decorated fire trucks, ladies in hot pants, cars shaped like bowls of spaghetti, representatives of the Boudin bakery walking alligator-shaped loaves of bread on leashes....you name it and it was sitting right in front of my apartment building ready to head up Columbus Avenue. For those who know it, Caeser's restaurant near my place looked like a pinata had exploded on it from all of the balloons and streamers and festivities taking place on its front steps.
It's very surreal to come across a parade completely unawares, and stranger still to have one just sneak up on your neighborhood and your apartment building like that. Parades are by nature kind of ridiculous and they're downright trippy when they come out of the blue. One certainly doesn't expect the U.S. Marine Corp. marching band to be outside their front door, does one? Here I thought I could just easily sneak off to Bed Bath and Beyond on a lazy Sunday afternoon, but that quickly proved impossible when the Columbus Salami Company truck rolled by with patrons throwing hard candy at my head. Was there a memo somewhere that I missed? I feel like this happened last year too which makes me feel especially clueless.
Ultimately I ended up sticking around the neighborhood - walking around sort of aimlessly while I tried to get my head around all of the stimuli around me. Costumed versions of Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabella...local government representatives waving at crowds...baton-throwing junior high girls....all right there in one giant Columbus Day celebratory par-tay. Who knew?
At home, I have a framed postcard right near my front door that reminds me that "76.2% percent of people leave their house every day." Frankly after my parade trauma, I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.