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At an Oakland City Center Jazz concert

April 27th, 2002

In The Moonlight
So, here we are. Friday. What? Wasn't that just, just last week? Three, maybe four entries ago, life as a blur of Fridays? Time measured in journal entries, Friday, after Friday, after Friday, the weeks whistling along and I have, what? Fed myself for another week? Written a couple more entries? Kept the computer population at a large local company lit and on line? Yeah. I guess. This Friday, in April.

Saturday, early evening. What have I learned this day? I learned, noticed really, that the local Grand Lake commercial area near the theater has maybe six or eight, I think I'll actually go back and count them, six or eight nail salons. And they're not small. Six, eight chairs each, big open rooms specializing in, well, nails. When I do the counting, surreptitiously, of course, to be found counting nail salons could conceivably be embarrassing, I'll see if I'm confusing hair salons that also do nails, they usually do nails, with nail salons where they do nails only. I wonder if it's an African American thing, African American women being into the art of the nail more than the general populace. I've noticed this, I think, at work. I'll ask. You're never too old to learn.

I seem to recall in the days of my middle class youth that women's nails wereAt an Oakland City Center Jazz concert done in a clear polish or one of several shades of red. A really bright red was, well, provocative. In the late sixties and early seventies when I hung with people who had some knowledge of fashion, the old rock and roll crowd, the underground comix crowd, working among the clothing manufacturing companies at the base of Potrero Hill where young women dressed to the teeth in working class hip mixed with young women dressed to the teeth in hippie hip, there wasn't all that much experimentation with nails. Every color under the sun, yes. Black, maybe, but black, I think came later, and the fake nails you can see today with diamonds and emeralds and miniature paintings in the style of the old masters, silver and black and red and blue and grey flashing electric neon, those came later. Rather like tattoos. The fashionable young woman of my day might have a butterfly or some such on her ankle, but that was generally the whole story. Today. Well, what do I know about today?

Pause. Let's see, what started this thing with nails? I set out today and travelled over to People's Park in Berkeley, only to find myself a day early for the festival, then returned to downtown Oakland and had a sandwich in Old Town, before hopping on BART and taking a quick turn over to Gasser's, a photography shop, on 2nd Street in San Francisco. Then back home with a stop at a coffee shop nearby for a quick cup and a short sit in the sun on the sidewalk. Then home, then a walk down around the Grand Lake theater area (noticing the number of nail salons) thinking, "why couldn't I just sit at home for the day, maybe even take a nap, this back of mine being sore to the point that I'm carrying the lighter F3 over my shoulder rather than the heavier F5, no thought at all about a second camera over the shoulder in a camera bag? Give the back a break?

Why this apparent need to get out of the house? I've been thinking about that lately, wondering if my never ending dialogue about buying a car might in some part relate to this, um, unease? The thought of buying a Jeep and now the thought of buying a Eurovan? I've never even been in a Eurovan. Why the current push to put things into storage, fighting against acquiring things that take up space, no more book cases or TV sets or radios? An internal need to get on the road? Is it more than just the jitters over the job? Or is it just spring and the moon, as I look out over the lake come to think of it, is close to full?

My insight today with the Eurovan was that it's a kind of self contained apartment on wheels, something I can drive like a car and not so much sleep in the thing, although they make a camper model, but something big enough to have a place to sit comfortably after a long drive, sipping a whiskey and water and watching the sun go down with a camera at my side. What in the fuck is that? (The full moon again, boy-oh. How many full moons have put you into a car at night, hands closed tight on the wheel, looking up suddenly to see the moon through the windshield, crazier than, well, crazier than an old guy ought to get, here in Oakland, in April, in the moonlight.)

The photographs were taken last Saturday at a jazz concert held in front of the Oakland City Hall.