Monday was our Veterans Day, an American national holiday similar to Remembrance Day in many other countries. I had the day off, and after spending a few moments to honor the memory of my relatives who served, hit the Upper Haight for chores and breakfast. Naturally, I brought my camera along. The photos don’t represent my best work, sadly; too often, I used the wrong settings.
The above mural is very unusual for the Haight, as the other artists create their by hand, using spray paint, brush and other tools. Such as this one:
I present “Super Rusty Button,” a more typical work of art from the Haight.
The Haight Street Market has gone upscale, as have many businesses in the neighborhood. San Francisco does not stop changing, and the influx of highly-paid tech employees into the city (our second dot-com boom) has driven up a lot of prices. HSM has an excellent selection for such a small space, but every time I walk past the meat counter I remember why I have such a large repertoire of vegan recipes.
You will find a few chain stores in the Upper Haight, but most independent boutiques do have that San Francisco flavor.
Before I had yet another classic breakfast at the Pork Store Cafe, I saw this curious scene at Haight & Cole, involving what I thought was a father and son. Unfortunately, I took my worst pictures trying to capture this scene, so I’ll have to describe it.
The tall man kept berating his smaller companion about appearances, criticizing the hair, the smell, the dirty clothes. He kept manipulating his little friend’s body, bending it over so he could pick bugs out of the hair, brush the hair, et cetera, all the while maintaining a steady beat of criticism and borderline ridicule (no swearing, though). Their dog pretty much ignored them. Not until I uploaded the shots to my computer (and discarded the vast majority–it was not a good photo day for me), did I realize something: I think his smaller companion is an adult woman.
Wow. Suddenly this looks like possible spousal abuse (subcategory psychological humiliation). I had missed the significance, the truth of the scene–possibly because I had photographed it! It does say a lot about my own personal obliviousness.
Now I refuse to make excuses for my conduct and accept any blame I deserve, but I can’t help but wonder: in our current obsession to record our world–do we sometimes fail to see it?
Vonn Scott Bair