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Under Construction
At a lunch Friday, in Oakland

May 14th, 2005

We Have Them All
Saturday. Walking back from breakfast thinking what are these cardboard parking meter drawings affixed to these parking meters about? Street art? Street theater? A school assignment? (Naw, they don't offer no stinkin’ art classes in school anymore.) Still, a break in the pattern, an excuse to take the camera off the shoulder and shoot a picture.

Anyway, discussing my head state with Self as I was walking, noticing the parking meter drawings attached to the parking meters and shooting a picture, I wondered if this weren't the secret Klingon signal to their faithful: “We are coming” (Wednesday, to the midnight show to watch, outrageously expensive popcorn clutched in hand, the opening of the new Star Wars epic at the Grand Lake theater) or if it were the secret, generally unknown to the populace but recently described to me, band of poultry smugglers who were using this cryptic art to plan and steal the quarters from all of the parking meters along Grand Lake Avenue and use them to bankroll more of their illegal, albeit organic, pullet farming racket down on the mud flats south of Fruitvale.


I've got to get better at carrying a notebook when I'm walking. The stream of consciousness story I fabricated walking home this morning was similar, but (I thought) somewhat more charming and bordering on the coherent. I was thinking (as I was thinking): well, why not get off the sidewalk and walk along the path next to the lake on my way back, so I walked along the path (noticing what the geese were up to in the bird sanctuary) and shot a picture letting the clever riff I'd been fabricating leak out and get lost in the ozone.

And you needed to write this half formed version down for the edification of everyone? Klingons? In Oakland?

Well, of course. Life is short and ideas, even half assed ideas, are important when you're getting old and soon to be senile. One writes what one can, if one can, when one can (at the desk or at the table) sitting across from Mabel (the slutty ex-Telegraph Hill green eyed yellow-blue parrot) who comes to visit me in the early morning on Farmer's Market Saturdays looking for sun flower seeds and idle chatter. Today it was “chickens”.


Yes, “chickens”. You understand in conversing with a parrot you talk about the things important to parrots and Mabel was talking chickens this morning. She's recently moved into one of those nice new split level parrot houses the Bird Sanctuary boys have constructed on the lake and she's been really happy except just last month they finished the first phase of their new migratory chicken sanatorium (built with a grant from a local donor) and it seems shady chicken traffickers have now appeared (trading on the restaurant black market) to kidnap chickens, sometimes right outside her front perch. This I learn over coffee and sun flower seeds before setting out on my own for breakfast.

So you can understand why I might forget to bring a notebook this morning, what with the migratory chickens, the chicken nappers and a dizzying conversation with a transplanted Telegraph Hill parrot, even though I'm fully aware I often get my best ideas when I'm walking. (Remember the notebook? Not writing down my fleeting, highly alliterative, moderately coherent thoughts while returning from breakfast?) Chickens and parrots, notebooks and pictures, we have them all, here in Oakland.

The photograph was taken at lunch Friday with a Nikon D2x mounted with a 17-55mm f 2.8 Nikkor lens at 1/30th second at f 2.8 at ISO 320.