I use the bus stop at Santa Monica & Fairfax a couple times a week.
I have never not seen "B" hanging out there drinking.
"A" is sometimes with her and they are always battle singing.
They tend to scare the old people. But me? I find them fascinating. Natch.
I have never spoken to them, until yesterday. As follows:
"A" singing: Love my way, it's a new road. I follow where my mind goes.
"B" responds to the song: Oh yea, I love Annie Lennox.
"A" recoiled: Bitch, that ain't no Annie - it's Simple Minds.
I interjected: Nn-uh, you're both wrong. It's Psychedelic Furs.
"B" gave it some thought: Ok, that might be right.
-- They were quiet for a couple seconds then "B" started a new song --
"B" in full voice: Please don't talk about love tonight...
I cooed: Ooooooh, Alicia Bridges!
"B" kept singing and really growled the chorus: I love the nightlife, I love to boogie on the disco round...
Me: That was one of my rolling skating jams!
"B" rolled back the years: Bitch please. I was on Alicia's float at Pride in 1979. We did the whole song over and over for the entire parade. Honey, I owned the damn Disco Era. It was the best of times eva.
"A" just chugged her drink and laughed: He a fool.
"B" rolled his eyes: Shut up bitch and drink your shit.
The bus rolled up and I boarded to the cool sounds of La Donna,
"B" with arms a-waving: Toot toot heeeeeeeey beep beep.
Once upon a great long time ago I was saddled with a significant other who was - crazy. A couple years after we parted he was diagnosed as bi-polar but while we were together he was just plain ol' fashion crazy. Nut-bag crazy. Lohan crazy.
All of his friends (not to mention mine) would all ask me why I stayed with him to which I'd just shrug and say, "I love him." And I did, blindly. And painfully. Yea, his manic episodes were that bad. And I martyred the brunt proudly. Which probably made me a bit of a co-crazy.
On one successfully bar-hopped San Francisco night Crazy and I were getting an after-hours meal at a crappy little greasy spoon in the Castro called Without Reservation. Sadly it's no longer there anymore having gone the way of a swanky sushi palace or perhaps it's a cupcake emporium. Can't remember - I just know that it doesn't serve steak fries.
Anyhow, we sat at the counter and just as our food arrived an older intoxicated gentleman came in and sat next to me. He was very loud and speaking in a strange flow of consciousness punctuating each of his proclamations with the fact that it was 'fab-u-lous.'
"I just came from a fun night at the bars and it was fab-u-lous." "I love living in San Francisco cuz it's so fab-u-lous." "I'm gonna have the Apple Brown Betty cuz it's fab-u-lous." Some of his fa-u-lous-ness hued a little bluer even, but considering the locale and the early morning-ness of the hour it was fine. Maybe expected.
Eventually I couldn't resist and turned to smile at him and he bellowed, "Look at your eyes! I am a great reader of eyes and your eyes are fab-u-lous. Just fab-u-lous. I can tell that as a person you're fab-u-lous." (Well d'uh.)
I thanked him and he went back to his string of fab-u-lous things and he got choked-up when he came to this one: "I'm HIV positive and... I'm..."
I reached over and warmly squeezed his forearm as I offered my voice as empowerment and sang out with him in chorus, "Fab-u-lous." His lips quivered as he granted me a generous smile. Remember, this was back in the time when the futures of a lot of HIV+ people seemed desperately bleak. I thought that would make him feel good. It did.
It did not however please Crazy, "Ugh, don't encourage him."
Crazy then leaned around me to give Fab-u-lous a toxic dose of his well-polished stink eye. Fab-u-lous stopped everything instantly and his manner completely turned into that of the soothsayer who had famously foreshadowed the certain doom Oedipus was come to face. He pointed to and shook his fingers at Crazy's two eyes and moaned in a low slow eerie tone, "You. You're busy."
And after he called Crazy crazy he got up and fled - like the ceiling (or check) was about to drop. And as I reflect upon this little Greek tragedy-esque moment I'm left to ponder that just like Oedipus I too should have given greater heed of my seer's sound warning.
About the photo: While walking my dog yesterday I came across this stencil of Harvey Milk - who was also known as the Mayor of Castro. It is really quite a coincidence that I happened to write about a Castro memory on the same day.