I Heart San Francisco


I’ve recently had some exciting celebrity sightings. No, not big time Brangelina types, but more of the local variety. San Francisco has a cast of characters who have become standouts in the local scene due to their wild eccentricities and vast amounts of time in the public eye. I hardly ever go downtown, but am always thrilled when I venture there and see familiar faces.

I saw the twins dining in the window of a restaurant on Post Street the other day, in matching purple blazers and white cowboy hats. As we honked and waved from the car, one peeked up, nudged her cohort and they both smiled and waved like Miss America pageant contestants. Before I moved here, nearly eight years ago, I would see the sassy septuagenarians struttin’ their stuff almost every time I visited the city, always in outrageous matching outfits – leopard print coats, blingy shoes, and crazy hats on perfect ‘dos – so it warmed my heart to see they are still at it in their eighties.

I saw a new one recently. My husband told me that he saw a man who had trained a rat to stand on a cat standing on a dog. No way, I thought, must be fake. But there they were outside of Macy’s on Union Square last week. An old black dog lay next to a scruffy man in black sitting on the sidewalk. Next to them lay a gray cat, and on its back was a white rat curled up asleep. They weren’t doing their acrobatic act, but their coziness with each other was sufficiently impressive.

What is their story? At what point does one decide “I’m going to train naturally adversarial animals to work together and take it on the road?” Or “my twin and I are going to dress alike and parade around town together as long as we live”? How did Frank Chu, the omnipresent sign-toting cause-protesting guy, get started? When did lightning strike the Bushman to start scaring the hell out of people for laughs down on Fisherman’s Wharf? They’re certainly living creatively, most likely with a good dose of crazy thrown in. Maybe they wonder how the rest of us can live such boring lives. In any case, I’m glad they’re around to wake us up now and again.


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