Falling in love, Bay to Breaker-style

We humans have a nasty habit of not being grateful for what we have. We can forget where we are, always looking ahead and thinking about the next thing that we desire.

Hi there, it’s been over a month since I last posted. Sorry about that.

I’ve been focusing a lot of my time on a screenwriting class. Ever since I was in high school, I’ve thought about screenwriting. I didn’t have enough guts to go to film school. So it’s a trip to actually be able to learn and do a thing I’ve spent so much time just thinking about.

I’ve also been traveling a lot. I went to Greenville, South Carolina, for my good friend Angelica’s wedding at the end of April. I also went to Chicago for five days to attend the Chicago Headline Club’s 2017 Peter Lisagor Award ceremony. Two of the stories I wrote from the Chicago Tribune last year were nominated, and one of them won. It was a big deal for me. I’ve never been recognized for my professional work before.

But this post isn’t about showing off my out-of-state travels, though I may write more about those trips in detail later.

Taking in the view at the Ocean Beach in San Francisco. (Alex Shashkevich Photos)

Right now, I wanted to take the time to express how grateful I am for what I have and for where I’m privileged to live.

Moving is a tough process. People are naturally resistant to change. But there are certain moments you experience when you’re in a new place that hit you in a powerful way, connecting you to your newfound environment.

One of those moments happened to me this past weekend during the 2017 Bay to Breakers.

It’s this annual race/party/crazy fun event that happens in San Francisco. Thousands of people dress up in fun costumes, or just show up naked, and run or walk around 7 miles across the entire city, from the San Francisco Bay to the Ocean Beach, or “breakers.”

Two naked men run in the crowd during the beginning of the 2017 Bay to Breakers race on Sunday, May 21. 

My co-worker Dylan and I embarked on the journey together. This meant we had to wake up before 6 a.m. on Sunday to make the 6:18 a.m. Caltrain from Mountain View that would take us to the city in time for the 8 a.m. start of the race.

We managed to pound enough coffee and make the right train. Debauchery ensued as soon as we entered.

Within minutes of riding the train, a man in a pink flamingo suit held up a gallon-sized plastic bag full of some kind of alcoholic liquid and offered me to take a sip.

Caltrain 6:30 a.m. debauchery in action.

People dressed as every kind of animal and character you could imagine filled the train. Neon pink, yellow and rainbow-colored tutus and bright, green-black, fish-scale-like tights and short shorts enjoyed particular popularity. Oh and glitter. Glitter everywhere.

Dylan, dressed as a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority with a pink fanny pack, was gracious enough to lend me a beautiful pink tutu, so I didn’t feel completely crushed by FOMO.

After about an hour or so on the train, we got off to be greeted by a sunny blue sky at the northeastern tip of San Francisco. I smiled, enjoying the gentle 70-degree breeze.

Most of the other kids who got off along with us bolted for the nearby porta potties, or just relieved themselves onto the train tracks. The many beers and plastic bags of alcohol they consumed have converted several times into pee before we reached SF. But that was the point for many of them.

As one girl I overheard put it: “We’re blacking today. Blacking!”

“Hell yeah,” the other girl replied.

All of that was entertaining to the max, but actually walking across the entire city was what made me so happy.

I smooched with an adorable bulldog at a kissing booth.

I marched up and survived Hayes Hill, the steepest part of the route.

I twirled in a tutu in the middle of an empty street.

I saw about a dozen of naked men and four women with bare breasts.

I walked through the Golden Gate Park and marveled at one of its waterfalls. Waterfalls in the middle of a city?? Seriously?

I ended the walk, my converses filled with sand, at the shore of the Pacific Ocean, baffling at how lucky I am.

Lucky to be here, experiencing you, San Francisco.

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2 thoughts on “Falling in love, Bay to Breaker-style

  1. Alex, congrats on the award and may you continue to have those happy moments of discovery and appreciation in your new home!

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