Today Middle-Age Cranky takes a hiatus from being cranky and turns to the subject of celebrating, fun, merriment, and other holiday-related activities. Too soon for the holidays, you say? Au contraire -- not in my territory.
I know that most of the rest of the country thinks people in the San Francisco Bay Area are crazy. We're the land of fruits and nuts. If you tip the U.S. on its side, everything loose will roll to the coast. One of my favorite comments came when Glenn Close and Mandy Patinkin made a movie here called Maxie back in the 1980s: “Only in San Francisco would the female lead of a movie be named Glenn and the male lead be named Mandy.”
Personally, I attribute it to jealousy.
The bottom line is, we know how to have fun here, more fun than the rest of the country. Take the concept of the holidays. In the rest of the country, the holidays tend to start around Thanksgiving (though Hallmark keeps trying to push it earlier). I have long harbored a theory that the holiday season in San Francisco actually starts with Halloween and continues through Valentine's Day.
I cite the Halloween kickoff for a couple of reasons. First, the holidays always involve sweets, whether through baking or candy, and Halloween is ground zero for candy. I also tip my hat to those wild and crazy guys in the Castro District. They know how to party-hearty when it comes to costumes, bless them.
Then come the traditional holidays we share with everyone else: Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas, New Years. Thanks to a vibrant African-American community, throw Kwanzaa in there too.
Come January 2nd, you might think the party’s over. Not here. Unlike most areas, we have two football teams to choose from. Though they've lapsed considerably in the last few years, between 1970 and 2002 (with the exception of three seasons), either the San Francisco 49ers or the Oakland Raiders competed in the NFL playoffs. That meant every weekend in January was a celebration worthy of tailgating or football-watching parties. (We still do this, but the efforts are little more half-hearted.)
February, of course, signals the beginning of the Chinese New Year. For many years, San Francisco had the largest concentration of people of Chinese descent in the U.S. (though it has recently been superseded by New York City). Hence, that was always a big deal.
Finally, given its official song ("I Left My Heart in San Francisco") and its unofficial motto ("the cool grey city of love"), the holidays really don’t wrap up around here until Valentine's Day.
That's three-and-a-half solid months of celebrations and merry-making. Call us crazy if you must, but don't call us too early because we’ve been out the night before having fun.