It was Friday the 27th of October...
I was sitting alone in my small room in my cozy little warehouse abode. I was sitting alone for a few reasons. The reason of most relevance was that there had been a scheduled meeting of sf0 members. No one came. We were to have been doing Something Very Good
. Something was missing. It wasn't very good at all. Hearing the sad news that no one was coming I continued riding in Critical Mass for a while. I saw the Cat in the Hat get arrested. I figured that Critical Mass couldn't get any more absurd for me, and called it a night.
Which left me alone. In my room. I could have done any number of fun activities to keep myself amused. Practice juggling. Balance some things on my face
. Glued something down to the sidewalk. I instead turned to my old standard pastimes; Problem solving and planning. I admit this openly here in sf0 because I know that I am in good company. I am with a group of peers who are schemers and plotters. Thinkers and individuals full of potential action.
I reflected on what was missing on that particular night. Why did no one want to come out and play? I decided that it was was too strangely intimate. I am good one on one. I do very well in front of an audience. I often fail at small group interaction with strangers. When there are only five to ten people around I find myself wanting to speak to everyone there and yet wind up hardly interacting with any particular one. For some of us, hanging out that night was akin to first date, only group style. I have noticed that sf0 has cultivated a following of individuals who exist in a different societal paradigm. Their way of thought differs greatly to the people who often surround them. The reactions to existing in a culture which does not adhere to ones philosophies are vast. Some people hide from it. Some fight it. Some play with it
I gave some thought as to fun large group activities I had participated in while in San Francisco. Most of them involve a group of individuals coming together with their own motivations, but some similar effects. The activities all involved doing abnormal non-mundane activities in public settings. This resulted in a group of subversives surrounding themselves my normals and sometimes subverting the normals into subversiveness. Each of these activities liberated the individual somehow or somehow freed the individual from some societal norm.
A Pie Fight!
My decision had been made. The locale was unquestioned in my mind. The time became absolute.
I have been a wrangler for a while now. Kids, clowns, audiences. But just within the last few weeks have I learned the very very basics of html. My wrangling skills were about to be put to the interweb test. I made a posting. It was at that time about one in the morning. I was to be at work at seven. I kept typing. Then I was searching for just the right image.
I made a post. I headed to bed. It was around two. I was still excited.
I woke up thinking about the pie fight. I went to my very public job and talked to all the people I thought would listen about how there was to be a pie fight and that they should come and that they should wear very nice clothes to the pie fight. Some shook their heads. A few chuckled. A couple said "Yes! What time? I will see you then".
By the end of the day I was scheming further. I drafted the counter posting to my post. It was to be A Seltzer Water Revenge: The Anti-Pie Fight. My studies in philosophy have taught me to think of counter arguments.
Wednesday was Halloween. I had planned to wake up and do the sight beyond sight task, but woke up with chills and a fever instead. After being in bed all day, and then working the door for Star and Garters Theater Company I was spent. I spent Thursday doing my best to get well soon. I suppose I could have brought my computer into bed with me... but I didn't. We don't have that kind of relationship.
So the Seltzer Water Revenge sits as an unfinished draft in my inbox. I tried to go to my local italian deli and pick up some old style seltzer bottles but they had gotten rid of them due to flatness. I grabbed some low end California imitation sparkling water. I thought it would still be funny. I scuddled to BART.
I arrived to the scene at 4:30 precisely. Carried my box toward the golden statue busker. I dropped all the coin in my pocket into his hat, and leaned in and whispered "There is going to be a pie fight here in about a half an hour". I then saw his eyes look me up and down. Meanwhile, his face went quickly from the expression of incredulous disbelief to a nodding acknowledgement. I could hear him breaking character by laughing aloud as I headed to a safer spot. He was gone the next time I had a second to glance around.
I spotted the local friendly law enforcement. I posted myself by the news stands slightly out of their line of sight. I didn't want to bother the nice officers. They couldn't have been bothered and left Powell.
The tourists started to swarm. Bex was on the scene. Two nice young ladies whom I had never met. Their friend told them about it. I knew I was about to experience what I had been hoping for. I had posted on sf0, laughing squid, and a giant online social networkspace. These posts had traveled. It had made it to sfist, digg, geeked.info, and a large search engine posting board. Who knows where else. The local newspaper sent a reporter and a photographer. They were eager to speak to me. People kept coming and kept filling pie tins. It was 4:50. I walked around and made sure that any stragglers knew what to do and felt welcomed. There were lots of pies now.
5:06... I tell a nice lady that she's not making pies right. She insists that she is. Is Not. Is Too. Things quickly become a little blurry after that point...
Strangers happily got involved. A film crew came into it. More reinforcements.
It was really messy.
It was delightful. One of the most enjoyable Friday evenings I have ever had in San Francisco.
If you came... Thank you.
There will be more fun. Stay Tuned.
These are the little things that make San Francisco feel like magic.
Tons of people there for this beautifully absurd event. Clowns everywhere. Cops looking the other way. Pie in my ear. A chance to wear my polka dot polyester leisure suit (and of course, the tasking pearls).
As we prepared, making rows and rows of pies and adding cherries and sprinkles on top, several people asked us what we were going to do. Mr. Hatman told them we were going to have a shaving demonstration and I offered a hairy leg as convincing proof.
(Afterward we wore fake mustaches and explained to people that the shaving demo had somehow worked backward. And I reveled in the splendid irony that me and my hairy pits became a Barbasol poster child
thanks to Sixacross).
Its true, it all became blurry when the pie began to fly. Mostly because there was pie in my eye. But chaotic as it was, the mess was contained. The mob was respectful of those who chose to remain bystanders and calls of "Hold your pies!" were heeded.
As we walked away, several dirty old men offered to lick the pie off of us. A few tried and became angry to discover we like shaving cream pie. Ha! Herbie hugged many of them (with their permission), getting them covered in foam.
Afterward a few of us sauntered our sudsy way to the Steps of City Hall for a photo op
and Ol' Abe Lincoln got a little pieing.
Then to Zeitgeist for a round. Its amazing how a normally impenetrable drunken crowd will part for a woman covered head to toe in foam and wearing a false mustache and a polyester leisure suit. And I knew I looked sexy because I have never had so many gentleman staring at me at once (though none offered to buy me a drink, hmmm...).
I happened to run into an old aquaintance who I hadn't seen in years. I was unable to procure an explaination. The oddest part of this may have been that she recognized me without a moment's hesitation and didn't really ask or seem to find my appearance odd).
This event was famous. It was truly a flash mob. The SF Chronicle
, TV.com, and who knows what other media were there. There are some amazing pictures and write-ups of the event:
To name a few.