A man in tie-dyed pants has come to the park with amps and turntables and records and is spinning house music that can be heard over the chatter and barking dogs and the occassional clack of the train at the top of the hill. He appears to be alone and no one is dancing.
A girl twirls a parasol embroidered with gold with gold fringe on her shoulder, and it twinkles. She appears to have stepped out of a Delia's catalogue, her mini-dress and spiderweb tights and platform boots (complete with hippy headband across her brow, puffing up young hair) completely out of place on the perfect, cloudless Mission District day when you can see a bank of fog over Twin Peaks and wave at it from the distance.
The park is filling up now and young women are drinking rosé straight from the bottle. This park is a bit of a miracle as park-goers openly drink and smoke pot and even buy edible marijuana treats from a man with a Yelp listing and 63 reviews. Even as I write this the man directly in front of me is telling his out-of-town guest about the guy with the copper kettles and the potent truffles you should "eat only half" of.
Two men on a too-small blanket to my right are sharing a glass pipe stuffed full of medical-grade marijuana. They are discussing the strain and whether it was worth the amount they paid. They agree it is.
People are starting to dance now.
It's getting closer to 2, and the park is filling up. A guy wearing a red sweatband is rolling a blunt, licking the paper with his fat, flat tongue. His small dog is wearing a pink flower with streamers that trip it up when it tries to get away.
The house music is bad. A baby wearing noise-blocking headphones (always cute) is tossed gently into the air. A new group of three is smoking a hookah.
A square-looking couple has brought along a table, a small wooden table, on which they have placed average beer and middle-of-the-road potato chips. They dance awkwardly from a seated position, both with heads down scrolling through their phones.
I suddenly find myself envious of a girl now dancing to the bad house music. She's the only one, really. She's wearing a long flowing dress and a devil-may-care grin, young limbs flailing effortlessly. Even as the DJ crashes and burns she makes it look easy and delightful, as though no one is watching. It's as if she has no neuroses at all.
Much like the girls, the 2 or 3 among hundreds, wearing bikinis. Even as beautiful, how do they?
A woman lowers sticks tied with string into a bucket and pulls out an enormous bubble, a giant floating orb refracting light. A toddler claps in delight even as the bubble disappears before her with a soundless snap.
A woman of likely meager means carries a bag on a heavy stick that rests on her shoulders. She approaches blankets and waits as people down the rest of their chardonnay so that she can take the bottle, which fetches 5 or 10 cents.
An earnest face in sensible glasses is collecting signatures, and I hope he does not come over here.
"Support AIDS walk? Buy a Jell-O shot?" is overheard coming from a man rolling a blue cooler.
A guy in Vibrams offers two girls in tank tops a palm reading. They wince at his offer, and I feel bad for everyone involved, but he is gone just as quickly as he arrived.
The air smells of grass. It is light, faint, barely touching any of us.
[photo: potential past; creative commons license]