We have cackles of hyenas. Businesses of meerkats. Murders of crows, exaltations of larks, and wakes of buzzards. We even have escargatoires of snails. Collective nouns for animals show off the English language at its most imaginative.
Collective nouns for humans? A team of ballplayers, a congregation of worshippers, a battalion of soldiers. Not very impressive. We can do better.
So I have decided to invent my own. So far, I’ve come up with a Liberty of Philadelphians, a Brash of New Yorkers, and my personal favorite–a Serendip of San Franciscans. Serendip, in the Old Persian language a word for what we now call Sri Lanka, suits San Franciscans. It sounds exotic, and serendipity gave birth to this city back in 1822, when a British tourist (sailor) blew into town, consumed vast quantities of drugs (alcohol), attended an all-night rave at the local nightclub (a dance at the Spanish garrison), fell in love with a local mixed-race hottie (the Commandant’s daughter), and decided he would never leave, as have millions since.
Thus begins a new series here at The San Francisco Scene–Seen!, where I try to publish thematically related photographs of my fellow citizens. Today’s theme: working people. The Civic Center area has quite a variety.
Here are the first of what became a large group of media people gathered in front of the San Francisco Superior Courthouse. I don’t know why.
This last one might not look like working, but she was working, and hard.
This young lady is a wedding photographer trying to post the happily married couple who stood on the City Hall steps behind me. The bride couldn’t quite figure out what sort of pose the photographer wanted, so she contorted herself in all sort of twists and turns to demonstrate the picture she wanted to take.
Thus concludes the first Serendip of San Franciscans to be published here. I hope you like these, and all of my serendips yet to come.
Vonn Scott Bair