For our honeymoon, the Wife and I ventured out to San Francisco. Despite her catching a cold on the way out, we have several wonderful memories of our visit. This is not one of them.
On the second day, we took a "hop-on, hop-off" tour bus. We hopped off at a few locations, one of which was the Haight-Ashbury district.
The bus rolled up Haight street. I was so excited. As a teen, I was a bit of a hippie (as much of a hippie as one can be in Athens, Tennessee, and without drugs...or sex). I love the music that was born out of that area in the late 60's. Reading about the Haight, I could only imagine how cool it must've been to live there. At some point, perhaps around the time I began earning a living, I began losing my tolerance of the hippie kind (though I still dig their music).
The bus drove right past the intersection of Haight and Ashbury. It stopped at the end of Haight, several blocks away. I didn't mind so much. In one of the Wife's guide books, I had found a walking tour of several locations of importance, so that was something we could do. First and foremost, though, I wanted a picture at Haight and Ashbury.
Haight street is nothing like what I had imagined. Despite what made the area famous, it has become very corporate. I guess anything that draws tourists will draw commercialism. It's mostly stores like Gap and Stussy. But it still draws hippies....dirty, dirty hippies. Perhaps the spirit of illicit drug use that still persists got to my wife, as she felt the need to take a Dayquil LiquiCap right there on the street.
Here's a little game that I came up with to play with the wife. "Hobo or Hippie?" The game is simple. Spot a filthy person on the street and determine whether that person is a hobo or a hippie. It's not as easy as you may think. Both groups generally avoid bathing. Both will beg you for money. One of the few ways to tell is that hobos may show some shame while begging.
After, walking several blocks, being pan handled and bothered by hippie after hippie (or hobo after hobo, I'm still not completely sure) I was growing weary of them. By the time we reached the intersection, my beautiful bride and I had grown so annoyed with the swarms of the wretched beings that we just took the damn picture and made our way back before the love of the Grateful Dead could be suck entirely from my body.
As we got back to Golden Gate park, a girl looked up at my wife and asked, "You got any ganja?" The Wife replied, "Nope. I have a job, instead." Man, I love her.
I'm still not sure why homeless people would come here. Hippies don't have any extra money to give you, and people with money to give you will probably just think you're a damn hippie.
What a disappointment. I do however find it ironic that a place born as a counterculture has become a corporate hole. Also ironic is how a group of people believing in peace and love has evolved into a bunch of people that I just want to punch in the head.