[Journal Menu]

[Home Page]

[Oakland Cam]



[100 Books]

[Other Sites]



Off Highway 101 in Oregon

December 4th, 2001

Different Obsession
The PSA number was through the roof, so we scheduled another biopsy for the 12th. There are other things it could be, but the doctor says 50 - 50, and I'm guessing he's just trying to make me feel better. Prostate cancer. Chances are I've got it and if I've got it I'd better whack it before I'm pushed out onto the street. They say that treatments are usually successful, that people die with it, not of it, but you can never tell on which side of the curve your own number will fall. There are no guarantees.

Oddly, for the moment, I'm not particularly flustered. Just go forward, old man, do what's necessary, do your writing, shoot pictures. Eat a peach, eat a plum, drink your whiskey, don't be glum. The urologist who's handling this is retiring next month, by the way, so I'll probably have to find another doctor if we don't nail down an answer pretty soon.

We had two brass balled young men get onto our floor past security yesterday. They stole a walletAt the office. out of one office, a purse out of another and a cell phone and a BART pass out of a backpack hidden under the desk in the cubicle next to mine. One of these guys evidently came into our rabbit warren of cubicles, while his accomplice stood lookout, and stole the cell phone/BART ticket without batting an eye. I got a call at my desk some time after lunch from the boyfriend of the woman who sits next to me saying he'd called the cell phone and an Asian man had answered and said, oh, yeah, he'd had lunch with the cell phone owner earlier and they'd mixed up their phones. He was going to return it to her later that afternoon. So her boyfriend called me and asked me to check things out. Turns out the cell phone had been stolen along with the rest of the stuff on the floor by "a young Asian man in a nylon jacket" and a tall African American guy who was his lookout.

Even better, today, while the person who'd lost the wallet out of his office was being interviewed by a security guard, the guard got a call on his cell phone as they were talking, telling him the Oakland police had ordered the front doors of our building locked and to only let people enter and exit through the back. OK. What is this? We looked outside from our 5th floor windows and the police had cordoned off Broadway in front of our building and the street separating our building from the Marriott hotel. It seems someone had left a suitcase out on the sidewalk in front of the Marriott hotel and the Oakland bomb squad was in action.

I dug out a camera from my desk (yesterday's thief would have been pleasantly surprised if he'd checked my desk) and took a few photographs of the empty streets below, then went down to the lobby and out back where a hundred or so people were milling around. They'd decided to evacuate on their own as there was no announcement other than the police were checking an abandoned suitcase in front of the Marriott hotel and people should use the back doors.

It was close to lunch and a meeting that was being held in the training rooms near the lobby had abandoned their pizza and salad buffet for the street. Free lunch. I detoured into the training room and sat alone at one of the tables eating pizza and salad, watching the crowd out on the street through the windows. Strange, I suppose, alone in an abandoned room, eating an abandoned lunch with a bomb squad working across the street next door.

They blew up the suitcase in place, by the way, a loud explosion that I heard later when I'd finished my pizza and joined the crowd out on the street (behind the building away from the suitcase). "A cloud of shredded shirts and underwear", said the people who were watching. I did not get a shot of the explosion, but shot pictures of the people and the crowd. I shoot pictures of people. The suitcase, well lit, badly lit or exploding, is an entirely different obsession.

The banner photograph was taken off Highway 101 in Oregon, the young woman was photographed at the office in Oakland.