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Women In Black at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland.

Under here.

January 19, 2009

Such A Thing
Monday. The ladies at my morning restaurant have been juggling with various teas in the last week when I told them I couldn't drink coffee because of stomach problems, each having a different take on what kind was better from their own experience, so I mentioned they'd figured out the problem and I was going to have an operation to fix it in another month. I don't know if that was a good idea, mentioning the thing, but as I was leaving they said they'd bought me breakfast this morning to show their concern. Do you think I'd ever consider another café in Oakland for breakfast?

Oh, an aside: It isn't lying down that takes care of the aching stomach problem, but lying down on my stomach. Odd, the things you learn, if the incentive is right. Lying down on my side or my back doesn't seem to work, but lying on my stomach seems to do the trick lickety split. Just an aside, you understand, I'm not sure how this knowledge benefits the human condition.

So a successful breakfast, back to take a two hour nap (I have no idea why, I wasn't up all that late last night) and now, again, the day is ahead on Martin Luther King's birthday.

My old company finally added it to their holiday list while I was there, I forget when, but it had been a day on which some people would come to work and some people absolutely would not when the office remained open and it was considered optional. When I figured out this was an issue with my black colleagues I came on board - you had to be a little dense not to see the racist component at play - and showing the flag by taking the day off isn't exactly what you'd call sacrifice. No one seemed to hold it against anyone who didn't take the day off before the office made if official, but then there are many hurtful things that go unnoticed when you're not looking.

Martin Luther King was assassinated on April 4, 1968 when I was in the army stationed south of Seattle waiting to be sent to Vietnam sometime in June. Wrapped up in my own foggy concerns, the entire nation in the middle of a gut wrenching re-examination of what it stood for, the ensuing outbreaks of violence when Dr. King was killed seemed to be happening in another world, somewhere in places like Los Angeles, Motor City, in the northeast and the south. Exotic places, something that was happening “out there” adding gasoline to a fire, a fire that would kill Robert Kennedy the coming year in Los Angeles.

But that was then, this is now, with Barack Obama tomorrow becoming the forty-fourth President of the United States. Just the thought of another attempted assassination brings those memories back, pings a deep dread this transition could be aborted and begin another dark chapter, the last thing we need to even think about on this day and tomorrow. Both our hope for the future and possibility of a Kennedy - King despair are now here in one single man. Let's go with hope this time around, “change” if you will, and keep the dark side of those memories buried. Those who were very young or not yet born in the late sixties don't have the visceral experience of that time, the events chapters in a book, paragraphs in a chapter. Barack Obama was two years old when Martin Luther King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial, time for a better outcome.

That's too down. Even mentioning the subject gives me the willies. It opens channels to old wounds, but wounds that have been healing over time and now, maybe, have a better chance to come to completion, maybe not in our lives, but soon. The Bush years for me were mind numbing years, years when I wondered what kind of alien planet I'd stumbled upon, politics reduced to the level of hawking fifties rock and roll collections on late night television, but without the music. A colorless landscape of “good versus evil” as you watched them de-construct the Constitution.

Maybe you should go back and delete all of this.

Later. A walk around Jack London Square, the Square almost empty, but the restaurants full of people looking out through their windows; the downtown business area crowded I thought for a holiday. Oh, right. Not everybody takes it as a holiday.

Back now, a little antsy, not particularly hungry but thinking of places to go to get out of the apartment again to get something to eat. What do I have to eat here in the apartment? I've been half watching my diet over this last year, nothing I've been too conscious about, losing a pound here, a pound there, but now this stomach thing has caused me to question “am I really hungry” whenever the thought of food arises. What would life be like if I only ate when I was actually hungry? Silly, of course. No would actually do such a thing.

The photograph was taken of the Women in Black at the Grand Lake Theater in Oakland Saturday with a Nikon D2Xs mounted with an 18 - 200mm f3.5 - 5.6 Nikkor VR lens at 1/250th second, f4.5, ISO 100.