The blue-threaded, stiff safari hat and the steel-lined canteen with the shoulder strap were hanging near each other on a metal railing at the 28th annual Alamo Square Flea Market. They were separated by a heavily-distressed grey motorcycle jacket, but surely hat and canteen had been tandem-teamed at some neo-colonialist theme party? I asked the gentleman vendor if that was the case.
It wasn't. But he had sported the hat for a party recently, and he agreed the two bits of genteel ruggedness were a great pairing. In fact, he'd throw in the canteen for free. But first I had to buy the hat.
And so went the customarily predatory-laissez-faire dance of the flea market, brought for six overcast hours into the middle of the city, where there are not enough flea markets. But this was no flash in the pan -- the Alamo Square affair has been around for decades, a smattering of vendors lining the treacherous path above Hayes Street, running along the southern edge of Alamo Square Park.
The winds were whipping around the flea market vendors Saturday morning but they, being the professional creatures that they are, had comfortable chairs to sit in, easy conversation starters for browsers fingering their baskets of $2 earrings, and ridiculously expensive starting quotes for the most unlikely of items ($45 for the alligator skin daschund purse? For shame, for shame).
Indie Mart DIY-ers were there, as was the adoption ready pups from Rocket Dog Rescue, and terrarium craft tables overseen by neighborhood art clubhouse Workshop.
I didn't buy the hat (sorry boyfriend), but I will happily donate my new $2 earrings to anyone who can tell me why this isn't a monthly event.