Manic Oakland Upswing

Posted: May 15th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: City Livin', Food, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | 2 Comments »

A homeless guy crushing cans outside my kitchen window woke me up at 5:45 this morning.

Sometimes I close my eyes and fantasize about only hearing the rattle of shopping carts at the grocery store. But knowing me, if that ever happened I’d probably get all nostalgic. “Ah Mark,” I’d lament, “Remember when people used to tear through our garbage like raccoons for cans, cardboard, and stale bread? Now those were the days.”

Whenever I want to pretend Oakland is Mayberry I go to this place called Fenton’s Creamery, which, if it’s not evident from its name, is an old timey ice cream shop. To be honest, the ice cream’s not even very good, but the teens who work there are fresh faced and disarmingly polite. I like to just breathe in the easiness and optimism that wafts off their long white aprons and crisp paper hats. I perch on the wrought iron parlor chairs outside and smile serenely at the little leaguers heading in for post-game treats.

But on Mother’s Day, and my birthday as it turned out, when I was doing just that, a fuck-you-NO-fuck-YOU scuffle broke out in the parking lot just feet from where Kate and I were awaiting Mark’s return with our sundaes. Hoping for a hit of community cuteness, I ended up acting as a witness for the cops who eventually showed up.

And as a bonus I get to look forward to Kate dropping the f-bomb the next time she stubs her toe. Delightful.

Yesterday, after Paige and I took a dreamy early morning walk, we wandered into wildly popular Bake Sale Betty. Even though she’s too young to say it, I just knew Paige was desperate for one of their sweet-tart rhubarb scones. Or rather, for me to have one.

Amazingly, there was only one person before me in line, a towering, bulked up black police officer. The kinda guy you’d like to have handy when a riot breaks out. He was pointing into the window case and requesting with delighted anticipation, “Oh, and two of the apricot hazelnut scones, three of the pear ginger…”

I couldn’t resist saying something—my insistence on interacting with strangers being the cross my poor don’t-draw-attention-to-me Midwestern husband has to bear. Though to be honest, fearful my comment could trigger a ‘roid rage, and seeing his gun holster bob up towards me as he peered in at the pastries, a little voice inside me wondered if I should try my hand at keeping my mouth shut.


Me: “So, are you attempting to bust the donut myth?”

Him: [chuckling---thank God] “You know, we’re actually all about lattes and scones these days. Us younger police officers really don’t do the coffee and donuts thing.”

Stepping onto the sidewalk later, I jumped at the rumbling rip-cord start of a motorcycle engine, then looked up to watch the cop ride away. I kissed Paigey on the head and thought, I just love it here.


2 Comments on “Manic Oakland Upswing”

  1. 1 Ashley said at 10:04 pm on May 15th, 2009:

    Aww.. That was great. Made me laugh and feel all fuzzy inside. I love it here too.

  2. 2 Danielle said at 8:35 pm on May 17th, 2009:

    Me three. Hi Lenny! OK, I’m onto you now, blogwise. Alls I need is your email address and phone number and we can start stalking each other even when the window blinds are down!

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