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Pride 2018

Started: 2018-06-27 20:53:14

Submitted: 2018-06-27 23:00:44

Visibility: World-readable

24 June 2018: In which the intrepid narrator joins the Google contingent marching in the San Francisco Pride Parade

Two years ago, I attended the Pride Parade in downtown San Francisco and was somewhat surprised to see a bunch of tech companies -- including Google, and also Apple, Facebook, and almost any other company in the Bay Area I could think of -- marching down Market Street in giant groups with matching t-shirts. Last year I briefly considered figuring out how to sign up to march in the parade but ended up watching the parade as a spectator instead.

This year, with my premature deadline for leaving San Francisco looming, I found the right groups to join to sign up for the parade. When I got the e-mail confirming the logistics for the parade (while eating supper in Monterey on our week-long vacation to the Central California coast last week) Kiesa asked why I wanted to participate. I thought about it before I could articulate my answer: it's proof that we don't all live in Trump's America -- despite the fear and hate his administration spews daily, we still live in a liberal pluralistic part of our sprawling country, that accepts rather than fears our differences.

On Sunday morning, I took BART downtown and walked down Spear Street to the Google office in San Francisco. This is the same trip I take every work day, at about the same time, but for Pride the people in BART were more colorful, festooned in rainbows (including rainbow eye-shadow). On Spear I walked past the staging area for the parade, where the Google float was parked along the side of the street across from the Genentech float down the street from the Intel float. I checked in at the courtyard of the office, got a t-shirt (with "Family" written on the front in rainbow colors), and picked up stickers, temporary tattoos, and snacks.

Jaeger in front of the Google San Francisco sign for Pride
Jaeger in front of the Google San Francisco sign for Pride

(When I got home with the rainbow-colored temporary tattoos on my arms, Kiesa took one look at them and asked, "Those are temporary, right?")

Googlers get ready for Pride
Googlers get ready for Pride

While standing in the courtyard, near the base of the brick tower that makes up the drying tower at the old Hills Bros Coffee factory, several groups of people asked me to take their pictures. I headed to the staging area, picked up a green balloon along the way (and tied it to my bag for safe-keeping), found the Google float by the side of the road, and settled in to wait for the start of the parade, while the DJ on the Google float played music and tried to overwhelm any music the adjacent floats tried to play.

Jaeger behind the Google float for Pride
Jaeger behind the Google float for Pride

(I was pretty sure I was the only person (at least in the Google group) wearing a Qualcomm-issued LTE hat.)

The parade was scheduled to start at 10:30, though Google's entry wasn't scheduled to depart until at least 11:50. As I waited on Spear Street, the crowd grew thicker, and the "contingent monitors" in capes tried to keep the people in line and maintain a small passing path down the middle of the street. I talked briefly to the one person I recognized during the day: another SRE in the San Francisco office.

Googlers assemble for Pride in front of Spear Tower
Googlers assemble for Pride in front of Spear Tower

We started moving, briefly, at 11:45; then stopped before we'd reached the end of the block. Our contingent spent more time stopped than moving as we worked towards Market Street, including one moment where the float blocked Mission Street (including a Muni bus waiting patiently on Mission Street). We reached Market Street at 12:30 and began our walk to Civic Center.

Googlers march down Market Street for Pride
Googlers march down Market Street for Pride

As we turned onto Market Street I found myself in the rear of the group, behind the float. My view was constrained by the balloons in front and behind me, and by the crowd of people, mostly wearing matching t-shirts, stretching out around me. The buildings lining both sides of Market Street towered above me.

Jaeger marches down Market Street with Google for Pride
Jaeger marches down Market Street with Google for Pride

The crowd of spectators lined the street, often five or ten people deep, pressed against the crowd-control barriers and jostling to get a better view. The roar of the crowd echoed through the urban canyon: cheering, clapping, screaming; all excited to be there and to see Google marching in front of them.

Crowd watches Googlers marching down Market Street for Pride
Crowd watches Googlers marching down Market Street for Pride

I gravitated to the right side of the street because that's where my guests Humblik and Amy said they were watching the parade. I found them at Montgomery and gave them a quick high-five as I walked past.

Googlers exit the chute after Pride
Googlers exit the chute after Pride

By 13:30, after an hour marching down Market Street, we reached the end of the parade at Civic Center. The float turned off onto a side street, and I kept walking forward, through the exit chute, and onto the sidewalk near Civic Center. I headed home, thrilled to have had the opportunity to march in the Pride Parade down Market Street and celebrate the part of my country I love.

I took a few more pictures of the Pride Parade; you can see them at Photos on 2018-06-24.

In Capatalist America, law violates YOU!
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