20 September 2011

The Epic Move, Part 5: Bakersfield to San Francisco

Goodness!  I hope none of you were holding your breath to find out how the move ended up!  I'm back a mere 3 weeks later to let you know about my favorite day of the trip.  The day we wound up in San Francisco.  I didn't realize until the day of that I was so excited to see it. 

Back story: The Christmas break of my senior year of college I started (and finished) all 58 episodes of the TV show The Monkees.  I don't know what possessed me, but once I started I couldn't stop.  Being, as it is, set in the mid-1960s and staring a group of 4 young men with no adult interference, it showcases quite a bit of the 1960s hippie counterculture (especially as the show progresses).  I was fascinated.  And then when school started back up, I had to pick a topic for my senior thesis for my linguistics degree.  After tossing around several ideas, I landed on the topic of 1960s American slang.  It was way too much fun to write, research included watching the Woodstock documentary, and I got an A.  Win!  (Final title: "Rappin' to the Fuzz: A Look at the Slang of 1960s Counterculture". Thanks, Arlo!)

But along the way -- reading, thinking, watching more Monkees -- all the changing I had been doing while I was in college seemed to come to a head.  Hippies, according to High School Me, were just a bunch of lazy, drugged-up, over-sexed reprobates who needed to grow up and get right with God.  A different picture emerged when I actually looked into it.  It starts back in the 1940s and 50s, and good heavens, if I had lived through the 50s and early 60s, I'd be fed up too.  These poor kids -- they knew something had to change, and in some sense, it didn't matter what it was.  They just couldn't keep doing things the way their parents were doing them.  (And now, as I've made it through two seasons of Mad Men, I'm appreciative of their efforts all over again!)  I feel for them.  They're not really my people, but I get it. 

Which brings us to San Francisco.  The Summer of Love.  Haight-Ashbury.  A pilgrimage 9 years in the making for me.  Overly dramatic?  Yes.  And exciting.  I also knew that the vibe in San Francisco should be similar to that thing I loved about Boulder, CO, and the thing I've come to love about our new town in Humboldt County.  "Everyone's different, man. Do your thing."  After a lifetime in Oklahoma, I need some of that.  (Especially since, as it turns out, my thing is not everyone else's thing.)

First up, we visited the most amazing playground -- the Koret Children's Quarter in Golden Gate Park.  I don't think I've ever seen children so free.  The only rule is that adults aren't allowed without a kid.  There's a giant spider-webby thing and a little pond and sand and a giant cement slide built into the side of a hill that you have to go down on a piece of cardboard.  It's beautiful.

Then we walked down Haight Street and saw this:
Crochet bomb!
Then we found what we came for:

Then we bought over-priced but super-tasty salads at Whole Foods:

Then we started driving to find the Golden Gate Bridge.

[My new favorite photo of me.]

[And the fog behaved perfectly for us and everything.]

I loved it.  We're going back in a couple weeks to see Hugh Laurie sing some blues songs (!!!! -- oh there will be a post. Holy crap I'm so excited.), and we hope to go back again for a proper vacation before the next 10 months are gone.

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