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Area in front of Oakland City Hall.
November 2nd, 1999

Flecks and Foam and Flies
So, it's a little dark out there now when I'm walking home. This evening was overcast with low lying grey clouds, everything in shadow, people hustling along the sidewalks and down into the underground BART stations. No real restaurants or night life along this stretch of Broadway. A Sears store, the Paramount theater, some coffee and donut shops that serve commuters on the way to work. Each set of escalators and stairs descending into the sidewalk has its narrow little coffee bar at the entrance paying premium dollars for their chance to sell to the hurrying crowd. I have not yet found a need to enter any of these establishments.

The walk up the hill takes me just four minutes after the twenty five minute walk from the office. I don't think about it much anymore, but I get to my building feeling that I've at least stretched some of the muscles in my legs as I conduct an internal dialogue over the merits of stairs versus elevators. I've just climbed a hill. The stairs aren't really necessary at this point. Tonight the elevators won out. Too easy to push the button, go over and get my mail while it descends, thumbing through the magazines and envelopes as the door opens. These are good things. The muscles are twitching, but it doesn't last. Just enough to kid me into thinking I'm doing good. Good for what?

At this point I usually give up and go to bed. The middle mind mush hour. The I got up The Oakland City Center area. this morning feeling tired and now I'm sitting here at almost eleven in the evening feeling tired, the two or three things I might like to write about a little more complicated than tired is useful to attempt. Usually I close up shop, make copies of the graphics and journal file and take them to work the next morning when my mind is clear and I can finish. The journals that I read regularly are done by people who seem to have things going on in their lives: husbands, wives, children, fights, trips, gardening projects and houses to keep up. Well, there is one that's stuck on a commuter train. I have none of these and, I suspect, my fate is not to write about them even if I did. I feel like the kid sitting beside the river watching it flow to the sea. A big river with boats out in the middle that run on schedules and carry important passengers and cargo to places where real world things take place. In the medium distance I can see ducks and logs and the odd fisherman floating in the water having been swept off a rock somewhere upstream, fishing line tangled, dead as the fish in his creel. Excitement, of course, but even more excitement when he heaves into sight of the town folk in another hour or so down river by the docks.

I'm the guy who sits under the tree in the shade watching the waves lap up near my feet. Watch the flecks and foam and flies on the water's surface eddy around the roots and the mud and the grass. The guy who finds this as amusing as not. The guy who watches the people's faces on the sidewalks, the revealing glance, the body that just for the moment expresses the real self or the other self or another self or whatever self that is not consciously constructed for the outside world to see. These things seem as important as anything else. I'm not sure about the dead fisherman, though. Maybe I should have called the sheriff on the cell phone, turned down the volume on the portable television set. Taken a photograph. And gotten more sleep last night.

The banner photograph was taken of the Oakland City Hall Plaza in the early morning last week (hence the color). The photograph of the building was taken in the same area.