Thursday, June 7, 2012

Oakland

I've lived in a lot of iffy neighborhoods. I like cheap rent and I don't like expensive pretentiousness, so I've moved from Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn to south Berkeley to northwest Oakland and now to downtown Oakland. This one might beat them all, however.

I can no longer count how many total strangers (and four different people from the building management office next door) have randomly warned me to be careful or asked if I was ok. Frankly, rather than feeling endangered, I feel strangely looked-after. My building maintenance man knows the people in the house next door and told them to watch out for me. I just went outside to cover my motorcycle and a guy in a pickup pulled up to the lot and asked if I was ok.

On the way back in, a tall transvestite wearing high heels, fishnets, and a nearly-inexistent miniskirt was standing next to the front steps, and said to me "Girl, you better get inside, they're shooting paint guns at people."

I don't even know how to parse that interaction, for better or for worse. Smile and nod, say thanks for who-knows-what-but-better-stay-on-people's-good-sides. Keep your trigger finger on the mace at all times. And then, yes, get inside.

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