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photo by Will_D on FlickrCoffeesister and I know this young lady who is almost ready for college, and she happens to live in Texas.

She’ll probably end up going to a university in that fine state, but for about ten seconds the idea was proposed and considered that she should actually come out here for school. Here being California and, more specifically, San Francisco.

This young lady is surrounded by helpful people, one of whom exhorted her NOT to entertain the notion of a higher education in San Francisco, namely because of “naked people on roller-blades in the gay district and too much smog.”

I know this because she messaged me to tell me this is what the person said. I, however, put her fears to rest by telling her that there is no smog in San Francisco, and that the naked gay people will not harm her.

First of all, let’s address the smog issue..

I haven’t seen smog here in 30 years. Not that I’ve lived here that long, but I came here with my folks when I was a kid and I lived here for the first year I was in the Navy because my ship was at Hunter’s Point, and I can say first-hand that even though there was a bit of smog then, there certainly isn’t any now.

This is partially because the wind won’t let any smog stay around. It all gets blown out to sea because the city is situated on a peninsula, but there’s not even that much of it these days because of all the clean-air initiatives that have been enacted over the years. It took a long time for all those vehicles that were exempt to die off but they’re finally doing so, and newer autos are no longer belching out black smoke like those old ones did.

They’ve also cleaned up factories and public transit – most of the buses and trains here run on an electrical grid and the few that don’t run on natural gas.

So I haven’t seen any smog around here in almost 30 years, but I did see a couple of naked dudes the other day, and I have this to say about that..

They won’t harm you. And even if you think they might, it’s fairly easy to check to see if they have any weapons on them because, really, they have no place to hide them.

Coffeesister and I went up to the Castro – which is what that well-meaning Texan was referring to when they said “the gay district” – and we sat in a little outdoor plaza sipping on a couple of cappuccinos that we’d obtained from Castro Coffee. It was a beautiful day and the capps were delicious, so we just sat there, sipping and watching life swirl around us.

Over on the opposite side of the plaza sat two naked dudes who may or may not have been gay, but probably were, and were also sipping coffee and taking in the nice day. They weren’t entirely nude, being clad in sneakers, but that was it. For the record, they weren’t roller-blading and I have yet to see anyone do so in the nude, but I’m sure it’s happened.

I don’t know why it’s happened, or why these particular two guys like to sit in the plaza nude, but in that district they can without being hassled by cops or fellow citizens, so they do.

They weren’t carrying any weapons upon their person (I’m certain of this) and they didn’t bother anyone. They did exactly what coffeesister and I did, only they did it without any clothes on.

I love freedom.

I can tell you that I’d much rather have them around than the guy in the train station last night.

He was smoking on the platform and someone asked him to please not smoke because smoking isn’t allowed on the platform, so he launched into a string of obscenities and then threatened the person with a knife. He didn’t actually pull a knife – he just said he had one on him and that if the other person didn’t shut-up he’d pull it out and slit their throat. Cops were called but I left before they got there.

Sometimes you get both naked dudes and knife-wielding train-platform smokers in this city, because it’s a big city and things like that come with living in a place like this.

But you don’t get smog. Not anymore.

Kona CoffeeThe key is to just go the other way when the obscenities and threats start and let the cops handle it, because that’s what we pay them for.

And when naked gay dudes sit around and have coffee, just take a sip of yours along with a breath of fresh air as you thank God that you’re alive and free.

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This Is A Document In Which I Wrote Words

August 9, 2010
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In which Katherine Hardman makes an utter fool of herself: a story.

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