First real day back in Oakland, Ca and another sunny and warm one too.
I lived here in my early 20’s studying art working as a receptionist in a salon. The punk scene was my home and grunge was the in-style. We dressed a cross between rockabilly and punk and visited the old man bars until students from cal Berkeley came and ruined them! We’d buy Gallon jugs of cheap beer and hangout in the summer at friends homes with nicknames like 666 House, or the Maxi-pad. We’d go to shows at Gilman and have the cops search us. Bands like rancid (I had nothing to do with them) and Green Day (a little to do with one of them) came from our scene. They still hang out now and then, but fame changed them and the scene changed too. Coming back always brings up these and other crazy memories.
Ed Ho, my best friend in Oakland picked me up at the airport in a giant truck (an American norm). Back when I was in college, he used to wait outside of my studio at art school, until I was done so we could go swimming or get bagels and coffee! I was able and still can tell him anything and everything, from love to bowel movements! There is no shame and no matter what, we stayed friends- even when we argued and I refused to talk to him for days or after I moved and he felt I abandoned him, we always remained close.
This morning we did yoga and went on errands to get me provisions for my trip.
At target as I was checking out, the lady at the counter asked me if I had a points card – ready to sell me one. I said no thanks, I don’t live here.
She said “Where do you live, honey” with a big pink lipsticked smile and her kinky bleached hair in a bun that looked like a curly palm tree.
“Woo! Germany?! Wow!” Than we chatted as I payed. Later at the phone store, the same question came up.
The lady there “why Germany?”
“For love, but we’re divorced now.” She looked a little sad for me. “But we’re friends now.” Then she smiled.
“It’s so nice when people can remain friends.“
These conversations with strangers in the states happen all the time. It’s normal- part of the culture. Caring and curiosity without having a connection. It makes the day nicer. Many Germans say to me it’s fake, but it’s the opposite. It’s just not deep… but life his hard and this makes it a little lighter! I miss that. Because of this, sometimes I come off as a crazy person at the grocery in Germany, giving too much information that the cashier doesn’t care to know…
Then Ed and I went to our old haunts. Our favorite place was the piedmont cemetery. The best view in all of Oakland. It’s calm and it’s expected that people go jogging there, or as we used to, have lunch.
Now we’re just hanging like we used to, back then. Sitting on the couch like we’ve done for years. I’d be writing something, or dreaming and he playing music on his stereo, or guitar. He’s now playing “hurt” from Nine Inch Nails and “what it’s like“ from Everlast – also from back in the day.
If the quality of life weren’t so good in Germany, I’d move back in a second.