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Lake Merritt

March 31st, 2002

I'm Allowed
The taxes are finished and filed. I'm not exactly sure what transpired. I drove over to CompUSA and bought the software, loaded it when I got home, then went through the questions and answers. It found last year's return on my hard drive and then downloaded the new W2 information from the Internet, which means I didn't even have to key it in. I corrected my address, totalled up what I'd spent on job related stuff last year and it told me the feds owed me money, but not as much as last year, and I owed the state. I pushed the button, printed out the return, and I was done. Could I have saved money having it done professionally? I don't know. Single, a salary, no dependents, no mortgage, some job related expenses and not much else.

It was a black box, I typed in some stuff and it kicked out some stuff and in another ten days or so money will be deposited into my account. I feel like a cog in a machine, stuff comes in, I blink, possibly think, push some buttons, stuff goes out for what purpose I do not know. Which is a good sign, I suppose, as it shows I still have some grip on reality. I am a cog in a machine. We're all cogs in a machine.

They have a fish and chips shop down the way and I've gotten into the habit of having an order of deep fried mushrooms on the weekend if I'm anywhere nearby. A be good to me perk for me being good during the week. Today I set out with camera and, I'm afraid to say, no inspiration whatsoever, took a bus, took another bus, took BART back to Oakland, walked over to the Oakland Art Museum, took some pictures, walked around the lake taking in the sun and ended up at the fish and chips shop for an order of (what else?) deep fried mushrooms. Nice. A short jaunt down the way for a cup of coffee out at a table on the sidewalk next to a group of bicyclists who were sitting around making bicyclists talk after an outing of some sort. Back to the apartment comfortably tired. Good.

Today, Sunday, a similar trip. Early breakfast, into the office for three hours doing god knowsA store window in Berkeley what, hit the Versateller, hit the local 7-11 look alike for a tuna fish sandwich, except they didn't have a tuna fish sandwich, get home, fire up the computer and notice an email from another journaler who is looking for a photograph of a particular Lake Merritt building where he was once trapped in a weird and arcane ceremony during Oakland's "there" period, but managed to escape through pluck and luck and plenty of wine, but just managed to escape, you understand, with naught but a parting quip and his very life. For some kinky reason he wants a photograph of this building and the lawns outside, not the lawns by the parking lot, you understand, but the lawns on the other side, to remind him that life today is good and life today is kind, but life, if life had been allowed, could have been, well, more difficult.

You may think this request odd, with the arcane ceremony and the lucky to escape bit, a thing of exaggeration, perhaps, something like my tale of the sword Grendel, who still sits in the corner of my living room glowing in a sulking blue funk, but I assure you, if you knew his story, you'd understand every line. Besides, these requests are not uncommon, it's the Internet presence, the point of contact, it leads to adventure and (it is said) madness. My madness. Or have you guessed, out there in the Aether, in your own mad life?

It's late, it's Sunday, I'm allowed.

The banner photograph was taken of Lake Merritt in Oakland and the second photograph was taken recently through a store window in Berkeley.