I feel the pain of everyone. Then I feel happy.

Music – REM – What’s the Frequency, Kenneth?

The Northbeach Festival is one of approximately ten billion SF street fairs that are packed in between June 1st and the first rains of our miserable July weather (a.k.a. Winter Junior).  There’s nothing terribly impressive about it other than its size and staggeringly high douche-to-civilian ratio.  If your name is Chad, if you’ve got arm-band tats, if you wear creepy faux-Euro male V-necks, if you have a universally deplorable personality, or if you live in Walnut Creek but like to “hang out in The City”, chances are you were there.

I was there, with Alcorn and Lilley and Kim and them.  We were sitting on the lawn listening to a surprisingly not horrible salsa band.

Mo asked me “Why do you come to these things if you hate all these people?”

She knows I hate them because she is my friend, and also because I kept saying ‘Holy shit I hate all these people.’

“I consider it a fact-finding mission.  A tard safari. Gotta see how the other half lives, ya know.”

“Fact-finding for what?”

I thought for a moment.

“My personal study of the terrible nature of man.  I come to sit on my high horse and pass judgement on all these lesser dbags.”

“Whatever.”

“What?”

“You’re having a good time.”

“No I’m not.”

“You totally are.  You have two beers.”

“So?”

“One beer is ‘Oh, I’m just visiting’, but one beer per hand is ‘Yes, let’s do it'”.

“Hmm.”

“You’re enjoying yourself.  Hey guys, look, Trevor’s having a good time!”

“Well shut the fuck up about it at least.  There’s no need to spread it around. Jesus.”

“Haha Trevor’s having fun in Northbeach.”

“Screw you guys.”

Maybe I did have some fun.  At least for a while.  The festival really is full of assholes, though.  And I ran in to a lot of people I knew.

Hmm.

That’s troubling.

——

Somewhere in a book or books published before I was born somebody wrote that Northbeach was a quaint and beautiful neighborhood, rich with history and character.  They said it was the heart of San Francisco, that it had a unique charm.

Total crock of shit.

And yet, somehow this lie lodged in the collective unconscious of America like a chicken-bone in the throat of a street dog.

Maybe it’s the result of a massive viral-marketing campaign by City Lights Bookstore and those Beat Poet assholes we learned about in high school English; a fiendish plot by those chainsmoking proto-hippies to sell their crappy existentialist books.  I imagine them all sitting around at Vesuvius for weeks on end wearing their black turtlenecks and planning it all out.  It was that or get a real job.  Possibly it was a brilliant coup by the San Francisco Board of Tourism, a rare moment of genius in a decidedly tepid history.  It could even be an evolved urban legend, an authentic untruth born of a hundred years of exaggerations and misremembered stories.  I doubt it though.  The legend is too entrenched and too homogenous to have occurred naturally.  Some bastard, purposeful in his deceit, strapped on his rosiest-colored glasses and went to work creating this myth.  God knows why.  Guy was probably a realtor.  They’re capable of any kind of shady shit to make a buck.

It’s a neighborhood in flux.  What began as a seedy stretch of Columbus full of sex shops and whorehouses has blossomed into a stinking drag of souvenir shops and dance clubs with outrageous cover charges.  Come for the $25 plate of pasta that tastes like a Lean Cuisine, stay for the booze-fueled fistfights.  During the day it’s a tourist clusterfuck, full of fat Ohioans pouring over their laminated maps and taking pictures of their ugly kids in front of Historic Points of Interest.  At night it’s a nasty scene full of puke-drunk assholes named Mike competing for skanks.  It’s the B&T crowd’s SF Destination, which explains why residents don’t complain when the cops taze people indiscriminately for lingering on the sidewalk.  It’s like somebody took a Disneyfied version of San Francisco, with all its camp and cuteness, and cross-bred it with downtown San Jose, creating a place both dangerous and overwhelmingly tacky.

It’s low-class to its rotten core and I advise you all to stay the fuck away.

The festival can be kind of fun though.

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