Friday, July 27, 2007

That's Random: Sidewalk Stories

For the last two weeks, I've been working a freelance editing gig in downtown San Francisco. (Hey there, Via people!) One day, while I was hoofing it to the office after parking my car at an overpriced lot a few blocks away, I looked down and saw a message neatly inscribed on the sidewalk. It read simply, "You are my everything."

I chuckled and went on my way. But the mysterious message lodged in the back of my head and nagged at me for the rest of the day, and during the days that followed. Who put it there? Who was it for? What did it mean?

I few days after that, I parked in a different lot and stumbled -- literally -- upon another message on a sidewalk nearby. This one read, "Love is what you'll get from me."

Now I was a woman obsessed. What was this? I asked around at the office, and while a few other people there had noticed the inscriptions, too, no one had a clue who was behind them or what the bigger meaning -- if any -- was.

Then a coworker came across a reference to similar messages popping up on Mission District sidewalks in a local arts newsletter that she was reading. And a flickr search led me to several photo streams documenting the phenomenon.

(Interestingly, it's grown to include not just the original messages, but snarky responses to them. Example: "Your existence gives me hope"; "Your existence gives me diarrhea," above, and "You make my dreams come true"; "Shut up, honky!" -- as well as serial sidewalk graffiti chronicling a love story of sorts, below.)

What it all actually means is still a bit of a mystery to me, but that's part of the charm.

Anyway, whether the messages I saw are some sort of urban guerrilla art, a stealth advertising campaign (if so, it can't be a very effective one), sneaky Christian proselytizing, or simply someone trying to spread the love via a letter stencil and a can of spray paint -- they made my week.

So, dear readers, I wanted to tag you with the message, too. You are, in so many ways, my everything. Have a wonderful weekend!

(Top two photos by yours truly. Photo second from bottom by Leena Prasad for the Mission Arts Monthly. Photo at bottom by flickr member zomBdog.)


katiedid said...

"Curiouser and curiouser"! I am definitely intrigued!

beachbungalow8 said...

oh i love this post. i'm facinated with the whole are of tagging! speaking of which. i have responded to your tagging on my website!

sanam said...

You can find the story behind the stencils here:

Love the blog, by the way. Thanks for helping me waste so many hours at work. :)

Leah said...

Thanks, sanam!



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