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Here In Oakland

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November 2, 2011

You Would Too

Wednesday. To bed early again - good for me - up with the alarm, to breakfast and back at the usual time with a detour over the hill to the bank ATM to get some cash. I'd forgotten I was out of checks for the new bank and my guitar lesson payment for the month is due today. The ATM was not working. Ah, well. I'll go over again on the way to the lesson and get some checks, see why the new checks have yet to arrive, and not get too stressed. Why get stressed over something so simple? Am I stressed? Well, I'm writing about it.

The non arrival of the bank checks is but a symptom coming from the pile of unread or read, but unacted upon, bills sitting on my desk. Nothing's overdue yet, I keep on top of that, but I have to go through them. I've been wondering if that packet of materials they gave me when I opened the bank account contained an application form for checks? Did I fill one out at the bank? Can you open a bank account without ordering checks as part of the process? I've never opened one before where that wasn't in place. Are checks now so optional? Can you really pay everything online?

Nobody cares about any of this.

I wouldn't care about it if it weren't a necessary part of living a calm existence. It's the various medical bills the various doctors and their payment schemes (all related to a glitch put in place by my insurance company) that started much of this. Let the doctor's bill languish until you know they've been paid their part by the insurance company, by Medicare, by the birds in the trees.

You're scattered.

I'm at the bitter edge of sitting down and cleaning all this up. It will take maybe an hour. Worse than laundry, let me tell you.

You need to know more about what real people have to put up with in their lives. Go sit in the corner and practice your guitar.

Later. A drive over to the bank to take care of the check problem (no, they'd not ordered the free checks) before going up the hill to have my guitar lesson. Another disaster, but progress none the less. I'm given credit for not giving up, for not fretting over the slowness of the pace, the time it takes to learn to play and that's good. I worry more about my instructor freaking out. Why worry about any of this at all? Did I spend my life worrying before I retired? I don't think so, maybe I really don't now, maybe I'm just sensitive to most any little thing with so little going on. Or something like that. We tidy up our rationalizations from time to time, time after time.

Now to the ocular neurologist for a follow up exam and then, back in Oakland from Palo Alto, to check out what's happing with Occupy Wall Street here in Oakland. There's much planned, at least one of the local radio stations is broadcasting from the site, there's a march to shut down the port scheduled for four and then another at five this afternoon. Will I be in any shape to participate, to photograph some of what's happening after all this running around?

This is running around?

In circles. In circles.

Later still. I'm looking at some of the live feeds and broadcasts of what's happening in downtown Oakland. This was the wrong day to be having a doctor's appointment in Palo Alto. I'll get down there afterward, but not on the bus, I suspect. Broadway, I'm sure, is closed.

Later afternoon. A drive down to Palo Alto and back, no problems, a nice day, a decent drive. The eyes have held firm, the vision better than 20/20 in both eyes, come back in a year unless something comes up. I wouldn't mind going back sooner as the doctor is quite attractive, but other than that: no complaints. It's now almost three and I'm heading downtown to see what I can see.

After Occupy. A walk down to the bus stop at the bottom of the hill, the bus not coming. A good excuse not to go downtown. It's already been a long day was the thinking, this no bus arrival is a good excuse. Go back to the apartment, my man, take it easy, get more pictures tomorrow, see what the day after all the excitement looks like with fewer competing photographers about.

Well, what the hell, a walk two stops down to Perkins across from the 7-11 look-alike where two additional buses make a stop, a walk over to the store for an ice cream cone (to fortify ourself against the storm), then a bus you never see on this route coming along and stopping, the driver saying he'll let us off at Broadway and Grand, about half the way, the routes and schedules are all screwed up with the march. OK. Not bad. I can do that.

To cut it short the streets around City Hall were packed with people, people were here and there with megaphones urging on their various groups, the first of two marches to the port forming up along 14th Street between the City Hall and the City Center. Lots and lots of people, well behaved, carrying signs. Lots of signs. Photographer heaven.

I took four hundred photographs, some few of which seem to have turned out, most of the photographs of crowd scenes that didn't work with but a few exceptions, but that's OK, that seems to be the nature of these beasts. I need a better eye for picking out individual faces in a crowd when I'm shooting, there's got to be a focus point, two of them even better, three approaching heaven or it's just a bunch of not very visually interesting people's heads. It's going to be a slog to process and put them up on artandlife, but a long slog tomorrow, this evening I'm tired. And reasonably happy for a cranky old coot.

I have no idea how many people were there. A thousand or three I'm sure, but how many more I'll leave to the papers tomorrow. Teachers were out in force, the nurses, the Teamsters were there, the Service Employees and what appeared to be many home owners suffering foreclosures, unemployed office workers and just about anyone else you might think of. Not a small number of amateur video people doing interviews with video enabled DSLR's, they seem to be popular.

So good. I'm listening to the news, my Korean soap is coming up, I'll play a little guitar and get to bed. Another doctor's appointment next week, but not until Thursday, so the days are clear. Not sure if there isn't a Day of the Dead celebration still in the works, there was one this evening in San Francisco, not one I'd normally attend even if the day had been clear as it's a fair walk from a BART station and takes place at night. I'm not into shooting in unfamiliar places at night. As I may have said. More than once.

You're dribbling off.

You would too.

The photograph was taken Sunday at the Oakland Occupy Wall Street with a Nikon D3 mounted with a 24-120mm f 4.0 Nikkor VR lens.