While Lauren and I were locked deep in conversation with a Victory Garden visitor (Well, let me be honest about this…said visitor was expounding on the lack of grocery stores in the Tenderloin and the state of Grocery Nation in San Francisco, and Lauren and I were more trapped than locked deep…), I noticed a man down at the far end of the garden. He seemed to be running up to the statue that sits between City Hall and the garden, smacking the statue and then running away. Then repeating this. Again and again.
I dismissed this behavior as a figment of my imagination, and turned my attention back to the lecture at hand.
A few minutes later, a man in a black leather jacket strode forcefully past the garden, heading toward UN Plaza.
“Want me to come plant some weed?” he yelled.
None of us were quite clear about what he said at first, so I yelled back, “What did you say?” I can hear the collective groan of anyone and everyone who has told me not to engage crazy people in the street. But I cannot help it. I simply have to be polite.
“Some weed!” he yelled back, never breaking stride. “I’ll come in there and plant some weed. It’s a community garden, right?”
“I guess that’s why they have 24-hour guards,” Lauren said.
“Oh my gosh,” I said. “I never thought of THAT kind of vandalism. That’s kind of subversive and brilliant.”
“I think that guy’s having his own kind of day,” said the man who we’d been talking to. Lauren and I turned, and I realized that the prospective weed planter was the same guy who had been slapping the statue down at the other end of the garden. There he was, his arms wrapped around the narrower sibling to the first statue, lifting his body up so his legs stuck out horizontal to the ground. Then he dismounted the second statue and strode toward the street.
“I think,” said the grocery store lecturer, “that’s what happens when you start your day with a breakfast of vodka.”
“Or weed,” I said.