Character Sketches: The Red Queen

The Red Queen walks through Fisherman’s Wharf in the later hours, posing for photos and collecting for a historical preservation society. She wears, exclusively, red Victorian dresses and hats with odd exceptions for holidays (one Easter Sunday, she was purple). Apparently she lives in the southern part of the city: when I worked in the area, I took the bus home with her several times. My uniform was also bright red, and once, she noted that the color suits me as well as it does her.

As performers go, the Red Queen is rather aloof but carries herself with an undeniable dignity. Her clothes are the genuine article, with painfully intricate brocades and feathers endowing the hats to nearly a foot in height. She tends to pass through Pier 39 near shutdown time, always with a determined expression on her face. I don’t know much about her business, but it seems too serious to interrupt for a sales pitch; she and I haven’t exchanged much more than several appreciative glances.


Character Sketches: “Jesus Christ Loves You” Guy

I have seen the Guy literally every time I’ve been to Powell at Market, and I have lived here for just over five years. If he hasn’t reached legal landmark status yet, he’s got to be close. He’s not so much of a don’t-miss as a won’t-miss.

Holding a neon green sign reading “Jesus Christ Loves You” on an 8 foot pole, and wearing a matching shirt, jacket, and hat, he stands and silently observes the milieu headed for the cable cars or the Cheesecake Factory or the spot where Rasputin used to be (RIP). His expression remains fairly static, with one notable exception…

I last saw him about ten feet away from a man on a literal soapbox attempting to inform an uncaring crowd that we are all going to hell. The Guy was offering some of the best side eye I’ve ever seen, and returned my gratefully offered nod.