I figured before heading out I would wait for the fog to lift to shine some light on the Occupy San Francisco annex of Occupy Wall Street. I'm not sure it ever did. What many refer to as the People's Republic of San Francisco is socially liberal and economically neutered. The heaviest traffic is leaving the city in the morning and coming back in the evening. It's a bedroom community that has effectively banned both McDonald's Happy Meals and foie gras and has sadly turned into the pretty but growth-deprived stepsister of San Jose.
Still, who doesn't love a movement? Needing something to wear to an occupation and in bigger need of some protest mojo, my first stop was the corner of Haight and Ashbury, the mecca of movements, the center of the '60s hippie habitat. The streets were pretty empty—usually this area is filled with homeless, stumbling along the block lined with body piercing shops, vintage clothing stores and "smoke" shops.
I found the Jimi Hendrix shirt I was looking for, but no signs of any protests, although I was accosted by four aggressive pink-T-shirt-wearing folks from Planned Parenthood and a Hasidic Rabbi with a lulav and etrog. I dove into the only sign of civilization, the Ben & Jerry's ice cream on the corner, and ordered a small Stephen Colbert Americone Dream, which cost a small fortune.
OccupySF has taken up at Justin Herman Plaza, at the bottom of Market Street, an irony probably lost on most. It's nestled between the Financial District and the recently renovated Ferry Building by the bay. It's also a block away from the Federal Reserve of San Francisco. Both are filled with sleeping bags and dreadlocks and body piercings and the pungent odor that often accompanies this scene. And signs. And more signs. Like most, I'm confused by what Occupy Wall Street is all about. Some of it is a place to hang out for the unemployed and homeless. Some of it is a party. The Haight-Ashbury crowd moved 40 years into the heart of San Francisco.