The Catalyst

A Writing Teacher Writes (plus some writing prompts and recipes)

There’s Still Hope, San Francisco April 25, 2014

Filed under: Vignettes,Writing Prompts + — Christopher P. DeLorenzo @ 7:00 pm

The prompt this time was this article from SFGate (click here for the link). It’s about a nude activist who eventually got married (nude) on the steps of City Hall (surrounded by mostly nude friends, who later danced there, right on the steps, nude, to celebrate!).

Articles like these are what I love about San Francisco.

I read this out loud to my group, and then we wrote for 20 minutes. What I wrote is below.


It’s too cold to be naked is all I can think as I hunker down against the wind. In the parklet, a group of naturists (as they like to be called) are gathered in a little clutch, like chickens, one wearing a gold lamé cock-sock, Roman sandals, and nothing else.

It’s an obsessive compulsive disorder, I think. They need to be naked. Or maybe not. I don’t want to be judgmental, yet I can’t help but try to figure them out. What drives them to do it? And then I think, people probably say the same thing about gay people when we kiss in public. So let them live freely.

“The city is losing its uniqueness,” a friend told me recently over a grass-fed bison burger with a side of sweet potato fries. “I mean $8.00 chocolate bars on Valencia Street and million dollar one-bedrooms? It’s out of control.” Maybe, I thought. But is it as dismal as all that? My little hut is considered a junior one bedroom, and the rent isn’t insane. And just yesterday I saw a non-gender conformist riding a vintage pink Schwinn down 24th Street wearing fairy wings, rainbow Mylar hair extensions, and a live cockatoo. There’s still hope for the misfits, isn’t there?

I see drag queens on a regular basis, and big bears wearing beards and tutus. The edibles stocked in SF pot dispensaries are made by local suppliers with names like “Psychedelic City,” and “Auntie Dolores.” There’s hope, right?

“Those fucking Google employees,” I heard a woman complain into her pink iPhone over a skinny latte at Starbucks last week. “They’re ruining the grit of the Mission and the Tenderloin.” Ruining the grit? I thought. Really? “Studios are 2,000 fucking dollars,” she said, and I thought, Not on craigslist, Sweetheart.

It’s all a matter of perspective, I guess. I’ve met several of those Googlers and Twitterers; they’re just kids in their late 20’s with expensive haircuts and AX shirts who want to be grown-ups, like we did when we were their age. Except the majority of them have diverse friendships, think being gay is normal, and complain when there’s no compost option for the paper cup that held their pour-over coffee. They’re more tolerant and inclusive than my generation, and they care about the environment and human rights. Are they influenced by mass consumerism and technological gadgets? Sure. That’s American. But they also love cupcakes, rescue dogs, and Dancing With the Stars. I wouldn’t exactly say they’re responsible for ruining San Francisco. I think there’s still hope for our fair city.



4 Responses to “There’s Still Hope, San Francisco”

  1. tracyi838 Says:

    Hello Chris! I don’t know if you remember me, but I took your workshop a while ago and we have mutual friends. Funny, I just followed you recently and I didn’t realize it was you. Small world! Hope you are well! Tracy

  2. Carmen Says:

    I like the somewhat humble tone….not TOO strong a rant…yet the positive thread is conveyed. Also I appreciated the complexity of San Francisco voices…balanced, harmoniously in diversity–even not oppressive of oppressors.

  3. terrilma Says:

    I love the voice in this piece and the ‘pot calling the kettle black’ details. Very funny and encouraging.

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