Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bay to Breakers Innocence Lost

Today was Bay to Breakers, which is billed as the largest footrace in the world (though I think if I fired off a gun in the middle of Jakarta or Mumbai, I might be able to beat that record).



Every year city officials complain that Bay to Breakers is getting out of control and should be reined in.

I never thought it was too bad myself, but I guess that's because every time I've done it, I've actually run the race. If you stay near the front of the pack, it's pretty tame.

This year I didn't do Bay to Breakers, but we did bring Elliot up to Howard Street to watch some of the runners go by.





Later, after Elliot went down for a nap, I decided, what the hell, I'd go run along the course for a bit.

This was almost two hours after the race started, so I figured there would just be a couple stragglers. In fact, the streets were absolutely jammed with beer-swilling revelers. You could barely move, let alone run. It was like Mardi Gras — only with more naked old guys (having never been to Mardi Gras, I can only assume there aren't naked old guys there? Please say there aren't). I was forced to high-five people against my will, got shot with high-powered water guns and was pelted with tortillas.

There were throngs of Elvises, Tinkerbells, Pacmen, Ghost Busters, Bay Watch lifeguards and hula girls. A guy dressed as Waldo held a sign saying, "Where the f--- am I?" A middle-aged man in a baby costume had what appeared to be poo smeared across the back of his diaper. Only I really hope it wasn't poo, because he kept reaching down to wipe it and eat it. Two men dressed as bacon scaled the side of Davies Symphony Hall while the crowd cheered on. Also, using the porta-potties appeared to be regarded as strictly optional.

These people clearly had no interest in physical fitness!

When I got back to our street, some people had left behind the detritus of gladiator costumes, along with half-finished drinks. As I was picking them up, I accidentally dropped my keys in a cup of grain-alcohol seabreeze. Gross. At least it wasn't my iPod, I guess.

With that said, am I in favor of new restrictions? Not really. Unless it's a no-nudity-under-age-70 law.