The Bay Area has a surprisingly vast furry community. About one of every 15 or so furries you may find online will have some presence here, and there is more or less a meet every other day (in some cases overlapping in the same day). It is ridiculously easy (well, relatively speaking) to make connections and be active, in a surprisingly tightnit, however vast, community. You could practically immerse yourself in the fandom around here, if you so desire (not that such is recommended, for sanity). By comparison, from my own standpoint as I've come to realize over the past two years of living here, this place is pretty much spoiled with the furry activity.
I had wanted to get involved since finding the fandom in my younger and more vulnerable years, just something about meeting other animal people seemed pretty awesome. Of course, being in a small college town and, well, young didn't really help matters at the time. It did jumpstart my art hobby, but that's another topic for another time. I did join the two local(ish) communities at the time: SacFurs (because, hey, there might have been one or two others in the small town of Davis), and BAF (despite being a good 80 miles away from the centre of such), and hearing plenty from the latter (also another topi-... actually I digress), and the high amount of furmeets in that area compared to the sparse organization for the closer Sacramento. Again, I digress, but I did find out about the legendary, almost mythical, Frolic from such, and things that entailed....
Or so I thought. I never did get a chance to check it out (occasionally holding a grudge to it) until December 2013, when necessity for an ill-fated video project prompted me to go. Having heard of what goes on, I had...reservations and a bit of hesitance expecting, to put it lightly, a wild party of debauchery. Needless to say, this was judgmental overthought like a public perception of furry fandom, upon witnessing what is pretty much at least on the outside (having been underage at the time) a casual fur meet without a verbal filter, in San Francisco, that lasts right up until morning. I did return twice again the following year in two subsequent months, latter not by intent. Having an enjoyable time....until the need to use the restroom hits and pretty much being unable to find relief due to an out-of-order gas station and being just under 21 at the time. The meet just wasn't as high a priority at the time for that reason alone (transportation between SJ and SF and overnight notwithstanding) save for special occasions.
And having turned 21 on the first week of December, you can bet I made an effort in attending this time around, having been anticipating for months...while not to the regrettable extent as Rainfurrest, there was plenty of excitement... and figuring out best way to prepare for the interior, which also proved to be overthinking.
Anywho, I left my household around 2pm to grab an early bite downtown and wait at Diridon station for a husky, to tag along to San Francisco around 5. I arrived in the station an hour early, so took care of a few things...like buying a ticket upon finding that said husky would be running late, and helping him get there; we both dashed up aboard the train, a Baby Bullet Express, just literally a minute before the doors closed. The ride itself isn't anything to write home about. It was fast, it was comfy, I enjoyed chatting with a husky as we zoomed past glowing lights and into San Francisco. It was a train thing, though could've done with more water.... okay there were plenty of Santa hats... everywhere, upon exiting the train at 4th&King. Apparently Santa Con (yes, that's a thing) happened, with block upon blocks of various civilians in Santa hats as we tried to find the right Muni bus to the Stud - and waited as it stood for a while. Nontheless, we did get onboard a short ride, and stopped just right across the street. For a first time, that wasn't too bad.
Walking thrice across the street, and coming across a few fellow early birds...early dogs? Bit of a low-key start, with animals whom I don't really associate with let alone know much about. Very quick conversations of "what's up" that are cut short by short attention spans and more exciting folks were had. So far, it kinda felt like one of this awkward parties that you don't really know anyone, and BS your way around. This, combined with a pressing (and chronic, yay for waters) need for restroom, prompted me to step inside.
Maybe my poor sense of exterior architecture and interior misjudgement got to me, but I was surprised with how open and and paradoxically how compact everything was. Very quiet and cozy bar, with an undersea cove kinda feel enhanced only by the wavy lights highlighting a Marilyn Monroe, and a...rather compact dance floor in the back, perhaps a bit too early? Yay reverse furry time. Apparently the event wasn't set-up yet, so a bit of a back-and-forth while animals slowly came in as the clock struck 8, and then some. I ran into a few more familiar fur friends who know who they are. Planned to tag along with them for an outing as the event warmed up. Apparently I derped on communication and misheard a "leaving now" for a "be right back".. after a good half hour of a moonmoon-like waiting and erratic socialization before realizing said derp. Discussed a few good writing ideas with a fursuiter while stocking up on energy at the nearby Shell as an impromptu handler. Brief compliments ("nice furry you have") from the merchants were given, they're probably used to this every month... then again, it is San Francisco.
The meet soon packed up on crowd, and I went back and forth socializing within, and just sitting by the aforementioned husky. The feeling was quite surreal. I even got a very personal and motivational speech from a technicolor wolf with glasses of all things. Good catching up, as well as seeing various furs I haven't seen in a long while (those appearing from out of NorCal and CA in general surprised me). I walked with a couple more furs to a crepe stand not too far. The clock struck 11 or so, time flew fast. It was a pleasant diversion, and the meal was good, much needed treat.
The night rolled on, and perhaps a s a right of passage was offered a drink. Appreciative nice gesture aside, Either I'm still not used to the taste, or just the way the drink was prepared, but there was something about long island iced tea that just tasted strongly like slurping up a cup of mouthwash. Took a few sips enjoying the company from a horse, 'twas a nice time, almost cozy in this zone of warmth and comfort that spread on to the dance itself, where it just clicked. It was loud as marf, yes.. heck I nearly strained my voice inside, but the place was just full of energy! The intimate space made for a more immersive feel for the dance. I guess you can say it was an example in great things coming in small packages.
Time had to come to an end, and around 2am soon had to part ways with this acid trip assortment of animals. Bidding farewell, I departed with furs back to Saint Joseph's town into the peninsula mountains amid a foggy night.
I really enjoyed my time. Save for some...affections (maybe I'm desensitized at this point?), any assumptions dispelled. In fact, as time went on, Frolic just felt like another furmeet mixed in with a dance, a wild, big fuzzy party in the city. While I doubt I would make an effort to routinely do the monthly trip (I would quickly become desensitized to the event as I am with most meets, and going to San Francisco for a night party, however enticing... doesn't quite justify a trip for me), Frolic certainly was worth the wait, and I'd probably leave the option to for special occasion. Like all events of course, it isn't much a priority (and really, I'm trying ween off the meets after a binge for a year and making a habit), but all in good fun. Makes me appreciative to be in this area, with activities like this in (relatively) easy reach (and more on this in a later, also belated post).
Nevertheless, thank you for reading my rambling and gushing in vanity. Until the next ramble that's over 140 characters....