Above It All

Monday afternoon a California Superior Court judge ruled that banning gay marriage is unconstitutional, and that evening there was a stroll from the Castro up Market Street to mark the occasion. One couldn’t really call it a parade, consisting as it did of fewer than a hundred people, but it was a celebratory little gathering, with several of the marchers sporting the wedding gowns and tuxedos they wore to City Hall the weekend that Gavin Newsom opened the gates. A few drivers leaned on their horns in support, and my pool teammates and I joined the other folks who happened to be on the sidewalk in a round of applause, but I came within a whisker of missing a reflection from the one truly charming image that came out of the event. The second floor of the building directly across the street from The Expansion is occupied by a ballet academy, and as the parade passed by I happened to look up and see the dancers there taking a break from their class to shower the crowd with good wishes. They had filled the row of windows that look down on Market, and the line of happy, unruly ballerinas, all of them smiling and clapping and shouting in their leotards, looked like an ebullient Degas come to life. Like I say, it was charming, but it was only when I spotted one of those beautifully toned and tanned creatures regarding us—looking down at me and my buddies, these older men, as she clapped, with our pot-bellies and worries, our reek of smokes and scotch and bourbon—that I felt the glimmer of some larger picture. The idea of a scene bringing gays, some ballerinas, and a troupe of boozehounds to their feet…Well, it was touching, in a modern kind of way.

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