I live in Oakland

12 Oct

Here is a pretty picture of Oakland

I live in Oakland. I used to live in Minneapolis. I moved here two months ago. I didn’t move because I got a new job or because I had a girlfriend here or any of the other reasons that people move. I just packed all my stuff into my car and drove here. I’m 29. It was easy to fit all of my stuff into my car. I think some people would find that admirable, and some people would find that very sad. I can’t really decide how I feel about it.

I like Oakland. I’ve been here for about two months. I like that I’m a fifteen-minute drive from several huge and beautiful parks. I like Lake Merritt. It’s a little reminder of home in a small way. Although Lake Merritt has some problems. I also noticed some of the same issues with a lake I encountered in Denver this summer. They have a really terrible design of bikepaths/traffic/etc. I think other cities could take some tips from Minneapolis on how urban lakes should work.*

*N.B. There will be a lot of stream-of-consciousness rambling like this in my blog. At least for now. I think that’s probably the only way I can write posts that aren’t embarrassingly short. One of the benefits of this blog for you, dear reader, is that you can watch my development as a writer. Oh how I envy you.

People in the Bay Area seem cool. There’s a different feeling in the air here than the Midwest. That sounds like a stupid cliché. Sorry. Small example: Giants fans seemed to mostly be rooting for the A’s in the ALDS and seemed genuinely disappointed when they lost. This is in marked contrast to, say, Chicago, where Cubs and Sox fans actively root for the other team to lose.

Whoever laid out the streets of Oakland was an idiot. It’s almost impossible to get around here, and the street signage is atrocious. I live on 14th Avenue. One block to the west (well, northwest, really. That’s another issue.) is 13th Avenue. One block to the east is 19th Avenue. Good for you if you noticed why this is confusing. On my block there are no 15th-18th Avenues. I live between 26th and 27th Streets. Or rather, where those streets would be. 26th Street doesn’t intersect with 14th Avenue on my side of the street. That didn’t stop the city from putting up a 26th Street sign where it would be if it did. This is like a hundred feet from 26th on the other side of 14th Avenue. I wish I had a camera so I could post a picture because it’s kind of hilarious.

I mentioned that I live on 14th Avenue. That’s in the east part of the city. Yes. I live in East Oakland. A lot of people might think that my neighborhood is pretty rough. I don’t really think so. 70 blocks or so east is a rough neighborhood. My neighborhood does have some ghetto tendencies. There’s a corner store across the street from me. It is not the kind of corner store you find in nice neighborhoods. I think they do most of their business selling individual blunts and cans of beer. I went in to buy a 6-pack. MGD tallboys. I didn’t see anything in bottles and nothing better than MGD. The old lady behind the counter looked at me like no one had ever asked for a 6-pack before. You have to ask for your items, by the way. Everything in the store is behind the counter. And the counter is behind bulletproof glass. If you’re familiar with The Wire, you can probably picture the kind of corner store I’m describing. Across the street from the corner store is a fucking gigantic hospital. You’d think with all the white collar types that a hospital employs that there would be a market for some better local businesses, but I guess not.

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