Monday, March 3, 2008

Hippies' Choice: Barack Obama

On Saturday afternoon, I found a guy named John who seemed to be holding down the fort for the hippies at Haight-Ashbury. He told me that I’d get a better tourist picture of the street signs from closer to where he was sitting.

John is “not quite homeless” and lives over by the civic “hotel,” I think. Most of what he said wasn’t exactly easy to understand.

John came out to San Francisco in the 60s to find his dad. He told me how the hippies that used to crowd were dynamic because they all had homes but chose to be out there standing for an ideal they believed in and protesting the war. It was a great time then, but after a while it fell into decay and turned into a slum until the city took an interest and renovated it. He said that everyone goes there now because of that one era that will never be back.

While we were sitting and talking, an old, hippie-looking guy dressed in buckskins walked up with his younger friend and started plastering up a poster of Barack Obama on the wall of a nearby building. The style of the poster was reminiscent of the types you see commemorating dictators in third-world countries.

John was telling me about famous spots close to where we were like where the Beatles went when they came and the Grateful Dead house. He pointed to the old man with the posters.

“There’s one now,” John said.
“Fucking right, maaannn,” the guy said. “The Dead-Heads are still here!”

He looked furtive and a little jumpy.

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