Around the Bay

Today was one of those days, the kind where I wish my eyes were little camera lenses. The light was fabulous and ever-changing, depending on the minute and where I was at that minute, and the images were all crazy fleeting – even if I’d had my camera on me, I might not have been able to capture these.

There’s a flower shop somewhere in downtown Oakland, a single wide-open door in a block of cement closed warehouses and window-less walls. I passed it about an hour before sundown, when the light was starting to peek under the cloud cover, and the flower-seller had her door flung open, as usual. A girl in a little peach cotton dress was twirling in the doorway, the flowers tumbling a bit around her. It was like an explosion of color and activity, spotted in a flash out of the corner of my eye, and surrounded by urban concrete.

On my ferry today, my favorite kind of sports fan boarded in Alameda. The boat was turning into a ballpark shuttle after I got off, and it was already half-full. Sitting at a table on the main floor was a Giants Dynasty, complete with matriarchal dynast, knitting something green and warm, 62 if she was a day, with her mother hunched beside her, her daughter to the other side, and her granddaughter across from her. All of the grand dames were dressed head to toe in Giants gear, and the older ladies had truly impressive displays of pins and pennants all over their clothes.

I miss those people! When I worked at Val’s, the owners sponsored a bus that met and ended there, to take the regulars to their season ticket seats at the park. Before every game, they’d come in for an Irish coffee and shrimp cocktail,  and after every game, they’d come in for a manhattan and a steak. People with season tickets that have been in the family for generations. They were awesome, and I always wanted to be them. Old-school San Francisco. Many of whom actually live in Daly City. Or Colma, but that’s too sad to think about.

Finally, on my way to my sisters, in the last light of the day, I came across the Oakland goats. A shepherd was fiddling with a locked gate on his knees, his sheep-dog behind him, studiously guarding his back and watching me suspiciously. Not far away, a couple of the goats were scratching themselves by leaning sideways into the chain link fence and walking forward. Too freaking cute.


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