And The Free
Saturday. I was thinking about walking by the Grand Lake Theater this afternoon, but a bus headed in the opposite direction toward the downtown arrived at my corner stop just as I was passing, so naturally I changed my plans and got on board because whomever might be tempting me with a trip in another direction obviously had the power to send a bus to pick me up and that's not something you can ignore.
There were a small number of college age or older dead serious folks on the bus debating politically correct subjects, so I assumed they were from somewhere out there in the suburbs coming into Oakland on the bus, but why? A well dressed young African American couple got on, the woman in her early twenties, a real knock out of a lady sitting with what was obviously her boyfriend across from me with my camera. Hmmm. Made me wish I had the gumption to just, you know, raise the camera and shoot their picture. You have these crazy thoughts, sometimes, when you're riding a bus through Oakland. Now where were all these not typical for a Saturday afternoon bus riding people going? And who, come to think of it, were all those people out there on the sidewalk as we approached City Hall?
The sidewalk along Broadway, where it passes the Oakland Ogawa Plaza area in front of City Hall, was a great long line of people streaming through a central entrance into a now fenced off City Hall plaza, quite a mix of people on their way to hear what was obviously, now seeing the signs, a Presidential rally for Barak Obama. A second line, every bit as long as the first, streaming into the plaza from the opposite direction, one hell of a lot of people. Why had there been no mention in The Chronicle this morning? Am I going to have to subscribe to The Oakland Tribune to know what's going on in my own town?
Sunday. There are some crowd pictures behind the Sole Proprietor's logo up above, but I didn't spend but an hour in the area, half of that sitting in the City Center a block from the City Hall plaza eating a pizza, the funky head scotching any idea of attending the rally. The Chronicle this morning ran an arial picture of the crowd estimated at some twelve thousand. I was thinking ten, but I have no skill or experience in crowd estimation, just the knowledge that I hadn't seen anything quite like this in front of City Hall before in Oakland.
Today there's an anti-war rally in San Francisco and I'm going to crap out on BARTing over later this morning to shoot it. I always have this vague feeling people are looking at me with my cameras when I'm at a political rally wondering in their heart of hearts if I'm not some sleaze ball photographer paid by the police to photograph protesters for a secret database to be used when the time is right to send these people to Gitmo. A price your timid ass must pay when you're out on the street with a camera in the Land of the Brave.