Yes, it is close to Halloween. But that’s not what this story is about. While I was visiting San Francisco last weekend, my friend Tess took me to an event downtown called the Folsom Street Fair, an event celebrating “alternative lifestyles?” I did mention it was San Francisco.
“The event started in 1984 and is California‘s third largest spectator event and the world’s largest leather event and showcase for BDSM products and culture. It has grown as a non-profit charity, and local and national non-profits benefit with all donations at the gates going to charity groups as well as numerous fundraising schemes within the festival including games, beverage booths and even spanking for donations to capitalize on the adult-themed exhibitionism.” (from Wikipedia)
I joined in this photo with a couple of “Dog Fetish” participants. The fellow on my left called himself Felix (whom I always thought was a cat) and the other appeared to be sporting a “virtual” muzzle as I didn’t catch his name. If it were Halloween I would be going as Casper the Ghost. It was hot that day and while I availed myself of the buttoned up look to get some “airflow,” I felt for the “men in uniform” who were not at such liberty. And believe me, when I observed other “specimens” in all array from butt naked to leather g-strings (only), chains and collars, elaborate make-up displays, etc and so on and on and on; I wasn’t too concerned about opening the shirt and baring “whitey” to the crowd. (and no sun block on hand either).
So what has this to do with sobriety? I’m not sure. However, I would not have ordinarily gone to this type of event from lack of interest, not moral judgment. It wasn’t until thinking about it a day or so later that it became a decent metaphor for a sober thought. These people are as into their alternate lifestyle as any addict is into their addiction. For the most part it is not a socially acceptable lifestyle as is similar for the addicted individual. Alcoholism may be less maligned than hard core Drug Addiction since the social line is a fine one for drinkers, as the drinker, unless obviously so, may be “in the closet” (so to speak) and not so apparent to the public. Certain drugs can be that way too including prescribed drugs, but it is a little hard to “conceal” the fact you are wearing a leather jock strap and that’s all.
The point is, these are worlds people live in. It occurred to me that being ef’d up is a world of its own as is one’s affinity for “leather.” And of course, there are many, many worlds out there. The thought is…that is… reality. One of the main activities in being sober is paying attention to reality. Not that it’s all you’ve got, it’s all any of us have. It used to be said we should “celebrate our differences.” I think we should pay more attention to what we have in common. While it was not a world I would personally find myself in, it is as real a part of this world as each of our own worlds are.
I guess the “moral” of the story is I suspect we are all in a better place when worlds don’t collide.