Posts Tagged ‘Shugahill’

Sight Seeing

July 11, 2013

As I do my bicycle commute from East Oakland, through West Oakland, and then onto my final destination of North Oakland, I see some interesting things.

I see beauty all over the place.

Sometimes selling itself on the corner for a quick fix from reality.

Sometimes just in the pattern of the clouds against the sky.

The sky that can sometimes thrust me back into my four-year old body as it stared up from the back window of a Volkswagen bug and I am lost in sense memory until the next light changes and I realize I better stop rather than fly through the intersection.

The commute is getting quicker, I know where I need to go, which street to hit, what intersections to be wary of, which ones I can blow through without much thought, but it is still interesting.

Especially to the writer in me.

The things that caught my eye today:

The beautiful curvaceous body of a young girl, perhaps sixteen, perhaps seventeen, in a body hugging crimson short dress with new sandals.  The sway of her heart-shaped earrings broke my reverie and I realized she was a hooker working the corner, but for just a moment she was a gorgeous gazelle floating down the street.

I wonder how long she will get to stay that pretty.

The rims on the Honda Accord, a weird off-color pink that looked matte, were perhaps plastic?  Such strange rims that I almost wanted to stop a take a photograph of them, but I had places to be, babies to nanny.

The manicured lawn on Market at 41st.

It is so manicured, so pristine, and so tiny that I often think that it is astro turf and I frequently want to stop and touch it.

But then who’s crazy now?

Excuse, me sir, I am just touching your lawn to ascertain its reality, don’t mind me.

The block  between 19th and 20th streets on San Pablo.

The one that is anchored by two different liquor stores and some sort of grocery mart/ store that has a poorly written sign that I know is meant to be indicative of WIC being accepted at the Bodega, but the grammar is such that it looks like “vouchers for women and children good here”.

You mean I can give you a voucher and you’ll give me a woman?

Awesome.

Because that’s happening just a scant few steps down and I don’t think they know they can get the hook up at your store instead of soliciting it on the sidewalk or the gutter between parked cars.

The other signs on the street that amuse me/horrify me are these: Serenity Place, A Friendly Manor, and Victory House.

Ain’t no serenity happening here folks, keep on moving.

Today I saw a white man, probably in his mid-twenties wearing a full length camel-hair coat and aviator sunglasses circa 1978.

He was crashed into the side of the bus stop and was having a rapid conversation with, well, with whom I am not sure, there was no one else there, but the conversation looked brisk and intense.

There is Giant Burger, which is now Giant Burger and burritos?

I am not sure what is happening but slowly as the weeks have gone by in my travels through this neck of the woods, it appears to have a more and more Mexican slant to the menu.

There is ShugaHill, which seems to be a soul food restaurant that never is open.

And “Brother” which actually looks pretty damn good, and smells pretty fine.

I also like their sign which says, “We will deliver anywhere!”

I almost want to test that out.

There is the bridge I go under, either side amuck with garbage and depending on the day of the week, there are two pan handlers working it, either a young white woman, cannot be more than 22/23 years old, who seems to be wearing some sort of brown sack dress, and either dirty brown flip-flops or shredded black Vans, who panhandle’s on the off ramp from the highway on the tiniest meridian possible.

Her hair is also brown and lank and she does not yet have the coat of tan that indicates you have been homeless in the elements for a while.

Should she get cleaned up I bet she would look normal, just another girl on the side of the road begging for money to get her fix.

The other is the scrawniest black man, old, but I cannot tell how old, who works the other off-ramp and stands with a hand held out, no sign, next to a red painted metal shopping cart.  He is so still I often don’t realize there is a person there until I am past him and my mind registers what my eyes just saw.

Tonight I was late at the nanny job and I got to see the same strip from a vantage point that I don’t often get, dusky night ride.

I normally would head over to Rockridge and see some folks there about getting some medicine for what ails me, but tonight I was in between times and just needed to get back to Gracelandia before it was too late.

Thus I skipped straight to the commute and saw the same strip of land as night was falling and the crazy was calling.

The same strip where I want to paint a shazam sign on the side of a building saying, “SERENITY NOW!” was going off.

I mean off.

“Nigger get the fuck off me, bitch.”

There was a throw down happening between two women, indiscriminate age, fighting over what, I don’t know, but it was hot and on and people where coming from out of the proverbial wood work to see it go down, I nearly hit one old shuffling man with no shoes on, just some frayed socks, as he hustled from across the street to get a better look at the action.

One woman had grabbed the other woman’s hair and was whaling on her.

Whaling.

I was tempted to call the cops, but I just hustled through, there was enough ruckus happening that one of the stores would make the call, I am sure.

Especially since it was interrupting the brisk trade of beers in a bag sales that were happening.

Two blocks away.

Two white women, preening, yoga-fied, slick pony tails pulled back sleek and high, sat at an outdoor cafe eating salads.

Looked like arugula and figs.

Hard to tell.

Whipped by them, crossed through Frank Ogawa plaza up onto 14th then hit the Lake headed back to East Oakland.

Tonight I was not smacked on the ass, thank god, it would have freaked me out tonight, being as it was nightfall by the time I got back, but I was followed a couple of blocks rather too closely by a large truck.

I just ignored it and focused on riding.

I counted down the blocks as they went by and realized I was making extraordinary time.

36 minutes from door to door.

Not bad.

Especially as how it was such a colorful ride home.


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