It's almost time for the National Conference in San Francisco and I am not going to be there. I made the decision to concentrate on a couple of regional conferences. I think that was a wise choice for me but I must admit that I am jealous of the attendees for they will be able to see one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
True, I am prejudiced; after all this is my birthplace. Who wouldn't want to ride a cable car up and down the steep hills of the city overlooking the bay, walk through China town, eat at Fisherman's Wharf or shop at Gumps near Union Square?
Many people attending the conference will be struck by how different this city is from the South. Part of that difference revolves around the homeless population. Street people abound--and many of them are two steps off center. On a recent trip back I found myself noticing the types of people I passed when out for a morning walk. There were the business folks and average citizens--dressed for success and hurrying to work, the immigrants--many dressed in their native dress, and finally the street people--dressed anyway they pleased. Street People often wear an odd assortment of clothes, jewelry, tattoos and piercings and their hair styles range from the futuristic to the bizarre. Some are well-groomed. Most are not.
I hope that everyone attending the conference will look kindly at these poor souls. Many of them would have been living in an insane asylum a hundred years ago. For the most part they are harmless. They add flavor to a gorgeous city and I sometimes miss their presence.
So, while you are dining at Scoma's,on the Wharf, sipping tea in Golden Gate Park, or driving down Lombard Street, reserve your judgment about these people. They are as much as part of the city as any of the sights; besides that, they make great material for the books we write.