I often get melancholy during the Telegraph Avenue Christmas Street Fair. Especially early in the morning when all the vendors are setting up their tables with this feeling of excited anticipation at the up-coming day . . .
For the 15 years that me and Duncan published the Telegraph Street Calendar, we were a fixture at the Christmas Fair every year. I used to always get depressed during the Christmas season. But the years we were doing the calendar, I was always so busy, working so hard, that I didn’t have time to get depressed. And I loved how the season built up to a peak. With every day that we got closer to Christmas, bringing more and more people to the Ave, and more and more of a shopping frenzy. Until it finally peaked and exploded on Christmas Eve day. When everything would suddenly die around 4 PM. As everyone packed up to go home and start preparing for their holiday.
I don’t know exactly why I get so melancholy around the Telegraph Avenue Christmas Street Fair. I guess because I wish that I could go back in time and do it all over again (and THIS time I’ll get it right, dammit!).
The thing I miss most of all: Me and Duncan were in the middle of this big and very dynamic circle of friends back then (I’m pretty much a total loner nowadays). And we used to bring out 5 or 6 extra chairs for our friends to hang out with us. We used to joke that it was kind of like hosting “The Tonight Show.” With Duncan as Johnny Carson. And me as Ed McMahon, the side-kick. And, one by one, our friends would show up — characters all of them — and take their place on the couch. And do their performances . . .