Sweat dripped off Zahid Peoples' brow as he briefly stopped dancing and held his 6-foot-long cardboard arrow over his head. It pointed toward the Moscone Center. Aside from the occasional water break, it was the only time he had stood still over the previous hour.
He wore DJ-style headphones that pump dance beats into his head. "There are lots of things going through my brain at one time. The music kind of silences it all," said Peoples, 20. For hours, Peoples bounced around the sidewalk at the corner of Fourth and Howard streets, spinning his sign and breaking out freestyle dance moves that mesmerized the suited health care professionals outside the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons convention.
Two blocks away, his teammates, Nikko Brosser, 20, and Nai Saeteurn, 21, flipped their signs with tag-team, acrobatic moves. They have been with the company longer and have reached the rank of "Spinja." Each trick they master, like the Bruce Lee or the Captain Blender," earns them a bump in pay, Saeteurn said. This week's sign was emblazoned with the name of a company that makes human-tissue products for surgery.
The goal was to attract people to booth No. 5189, but the three sign spinners worked just like they would with any other company's sign. For them, it was just another day at the office. "I'm a kinetic person. I don't like staying still too long," Brosser said. "I love my job."
To see a multimedia production of this piece, go to sfgate.com/cityexposed. If you have ideas for the City Exposed, e-mail Mike Kepka at firstname.lastname@example.org.