Saturday, March 29, 2008

Big Shot Funeral

On Sutter Street, between Polk and Van Ness, at 2:15 PM Saturday afternoon, a street person bumped into a large vehicle parked in front of the storefront mosque (above), and its car horn alarm went off for the next five minutes.

Then, to add to the noise and confusion, at that moment a phalanx of motorcycle cops roared up Sutter Street out of nowhere, and jumped off their bikes in the Polk Street intersection so they could stop traffic for the 40 or so limos and cars with "FUNERAL" on their windshields that were passing by.

The only time I've seen this kind of fast-moving traffic control activity before is when United States Presidents or the Queen of England were visiting San Francisco. Traffic is also blocked in all directions for policemen's funerals when they've died in the line of duty, but that tends to be slower moving. This didn't seem to fit into any of those categories, however, so I just assumed it was a dead big shot with connections in either the political realm or the police department or both.

I certainly hope the citizens of San Francisco weren't having to pick up the bill for this special service, or I'm going to demand a police procession for my own humble remains. And I do hope whoever is paying for the service makes sure to include the time the various policemen took to get into their outfits, or they might be sued in the future. That's what's happening now in San Francisco where a class-action suit has just been filed by various police for all the time they've not been paid while putting on and taking off their uniforms. The chutzpah of these overpaid characters really is amazing, particularly when they haven't solved more than a half dozen homicides in as many years.


Matthew Hubbard said...

Any funeral of any reasonable size, big shot or not, usually has a motorcycle cop at the front and back so the procession can go through red lights and all. If it's going through a town like Hayward, where there is a big cemetery, the cops have the ability to make the traffic lights blink when necessary. Maybe S.F. just isn't as up to date and needs a cop on some corners.

Civic Center said...

Dear matty: The oddest detail is that I don't think there are any cemeteries left in the city and county of San Francisco. The huge park surrounding the Legion of Honour art museum which is now Lincoln Park Golf Course used to the San Francisco cemetery in the 19th and early 20th century, but hasn't been used for that purpose since then.

Plus, it wasn't just a motorcycle policeman at the beginning and end of the procession, but a whole crew of cops jumping off their bikes at intersections and yelling at pedestrians and drivers "Don't Move!" It was very weird.

Matthew Hubbard said...

If is was a platoon of cops, I expect your original take on the situation is correct.

I think you're right about San Francisco cemeteries. The service was probably at some S.F. church and the burial was probably in Colma.

Someone (Herb Caen?) once called San Francisco The City That Waits To Die because there will be a big quake eventually. It was my friend Mina Millett who first told me that Colma is The City That Waits For The City That Waits To Die To Die.