I suppose a darling young Finnish reporter asked me if I felt safe at yesterday’s torch rally because I was alone and carried a sign that said, “Another Grandmother for a free Tibet.” In fact, I was not alone. I saw some church friends, their son and his daughter on the train, and everybody I talked with, including many law enforcement officers, was in a good mood. It was just one of those perfect San Francisco days on the water front–blue skies, live music, thousands of green balloons for Darfur, monks, unicycles, wheelchairs, bicycles, skateboards, scooters, horses, clowns, gorillas, great coffee, speeches, nose to nose one on one confrontations, Chinese dragons, Tai Chi performances, office workers, bullhorns, chants, drums, AND a couple of naked guys who decided the best place to strip was right in front of where I stood at the police barricade holding onto what I thought would be the perfect place to see the torch when it entered Justin Herman Plaza. Really, that’s why I stayed put.
As you know by now, Mayor Newsom was riding along in a van as the torch traveled through the city and made on-the-spot decisions as to its route which left me and my thousands of new best friends literally out of the loop. After leaving AT&T ballpark, the runner ducked into a warehouse and a waiting van, for travel through city streets not previously publicized, allowing the runners to actually run when deemed safe. I really don’t think they could have made it through the crowd where I was, but you know what they say about hindsight. Anyway, it was a brilliant plan and took the torch all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge and from there straight to airport for the closing ceremony.
Now, back to the naked guys. I just had to know what purpose nudity served for them on this particular day, so I got up enough nerve to ask them. They had been chatting and posing with everyone else who approached them, and in my case, I didn’t have to move an inch to talk to them. The younger fellow sort of stammered and deferred to the older man who explained that today was all about human rights, even the right to be naked in public. That made sense to me in spite of all the cops who smiled as they walked right past them without saying a word, much less arresting them. When I thanked him for explaining it to me, he continued with a brief Olympics’ history lesson. Did you know the first Olympians competed in the nude? I didn’t.
After that, the wind picked up, so said I hope he didn’t freeze his you-know-whats off and wished him a good day. He returned the sentiment with a smile, walked over to a baby stroller holding his backpack and got dressed. By then, we knew the torch was on the way to the airport, so I guess he and I decided it was time to go home and remember our day of celebrating differences. Thank goodness I wore sunblock and a hat. Otherwise, I might still be blushing!