Love Letter to Oakland

Posted: October 24th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: California, City Livin', Food, Friends and Strangers, Other Mothers | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments »

Dearest Oakland,

I’m lying in bed (with my laptop) feeling dreamy about our recent weekend together. And while I linger in this hazy bliss I thought I’d write you a letter to tell you just how dazzling you are.

First off, on Friday—remember how I was so crabby? The kids were wild, I was exhausted, and the minutes ’til Mark would get home from work seemed to stretch out mercilessly. I was like a beaten-down soldier whose dismissal date kept getting moved just out of reach.

But then you, Oakland—as if you somehow knew I needed you—you sent in back-up, in the form of my wonderful neighbor, who I spotted from the kitchen window waltzing across my yard holding a plate of cheese and crackers, her children in tow. In minutes my kids were swept from my skirt hem (where they’d been clinging, whining, and fighting all afternoon) to dash off to play with their homies. And me? I was left on the sunny front porch, splayed out in a wicker chair with a dear friend, some processed pub cheese, and the most delicious, well-deserved beer I may have ever consumed.

My mood took such a fast turn I wouldn’t be surprised if I laid down rubber. And all because of the dumb luck served up to me by having settled in my groovy neighborhood. So thanks, Oakland. I needed that.

And if all that all wasn’t day-changing enough, we breathed a collective screw-cooking-dinner sigh, and walked JUST BLOCKS AWAY (frighteningly close, really, considering I’d never been) to a delightfully homey, Friday night food truck event. It was sunny and warm, children frollicked on a grassy knoll (for realz!), and folks gathered on blankets to eat gourmet foods they didn’t cook and wouldn’t have to clean up after.

I love the trendy fanci-fication of roach coaches. I mean, as trends go it’s MUCH better than the whole jeggings thing. And not only do they serve up a mean chicken tikka masala, or mac and cheese with truffle oil, or┬áspicy Thai shrimp with the heads still on right from their little sliding windows, but all the hip food trucks have clever names too. Names that, like nearly every joke I’ve ever heard, I’m immediately unable to remember. But trust me, those trucks had some clever, pun-a-licious names.

Oh, Oakland, you know exactly how to turn a grumpy worn-out mama into a happily fed mother hen, pushing her brood home in a stroller awash with snug contentment that all those people in other parts of the country who own much larger, fancier and less expensive houses—and who send their kids to excellent free local schools—THEY don’t get to walk three blocks to a super-groovy food truck ho-down. No, no, Oakland, I don’t mean to boast about you, but those folks don’t got what you have, honey. No way, no how.

Then Saturday you kept the love coming. Like the cleverest people who ever did live, we went to your shores, and climbed aboard the ferry to our sister city San Francisco—and not with the intention of getting off once there. No, we took the boat as a wonderfully mobile, water-borne, crowd-free way to watch the Blue Angels air show. So smart! So simple! So CHEAP. Yes, we just did a loop through the bay, admiring the sailboats and massive aircraft carriers. It was sunny. It was easy. And it was a lightening-charged THRILL to see those planes roar overhead in tight formation, doing loop-dee-loops, epic free falls, and even drawing a breast cancer ribbon in the air.

Mark, Kate and I were punching the air and screaming “Yee-ha!” like some amped-up rednecks watching Nascar. Paige, on the other hand, wailed and covered her ears from the noise. But really, Oakland, don’t feel bad. You can’t make everyone happy all the time.

Waking up next to you Sunday morning, dear city… Is it wrong to say I’m getting used to you being there? Used to rolling out of bed and having you serve up our feel-good neighborhood farmer’s market groove? I’ve grown so contentedly used to this happy scene. There’s music for the kiddos, great produce year-round, and delish hot breakfast and lunch foods. The farmer’s market on Sunday mornings is our form of church.

And the frosting on the cake—because I’m not done yet—was seeing the movie Moneyball. Total sports movie that you don’t have to like sports to like. Or to love. It’s about the Oakland A’s, ya know. An underdog story (the best kind). And it stars Brad Pitt, who actually looks kinda old in it, which has the strange effect of making him seem mortal and therefore somehow even more likeable.

Plus, there’s something extra specially cool about watching a movie about Oakland IN Oakland. Or rather, a movie about you, in you. Well, you know what I mean…

Anyway Oakland, thank you, thank you for the non-stop excellent happy good love. Sure, I fantasize about other places at times. I won’t lie. I daydream about what small town life could be. I flirt with the idea of nearby, fancy-pants Piedmont (‘though I also admire Porches, but will likely never own one). Anyway, I haven’t always been the most loyal lover, Oakland, but at the end of the day the fact is, it’s all about you and me, baby.

So let’s just keep being excellent to each other, shall we?

xoxox,
Kristen

P.S. Write back.


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