1. Riding in my dad’s truck, MLK:
“So what does it feel like to be back?”
Look out the window, lines of lanes and sidewalk. “Everything feels really sterile. And clean.”
“Sterile and clean? Not usually words associated with Oakland.”
Laugh. “Yeah, I guess not.”
2. Running around the lake, joggers in sweat clothes:
Everyone looks really healthy here—big and robust, cheeks flushed.
3. Whole Foods, walk around for an hour, confused—pick up food, put it back down:
How do you shop in a grocery store? Everything looks plastic.
4. Winter-like storm, long pants and a jacket:
Everyone else may be annoyed, but I’m tickled to death.
5. Waiting to make left turn, watching the cars:
The US feels like a video game, some kind of old-school Atari: little boxes moving through space. The object of the game is to stay between the lines, stay in the lanes, walk on the sidewalk, put trash in the bin…
6. Rapture billboards:
7. Waiting to meet Nhu and Jacobo outside Bette’s Cafe, watching family:
“But I’m huuuun-greee.”
“Well, we have to wait.”
“But I don’t wa-nnnna.”
American children are allowed to be really obnoxious.
8. Wine meeting for work, varietal characteristics and spit buckets:
This is my job. This is silly.
9. Drive to meeting, park; drive to yoga, park; drive to cafe, park:
My life feels like a video game. I’m not sure what the object is.
10. Waiting at stoplight. Car beside me: bass bumping, boy leaning out of the open window, shirt half-off, arms raised, dancing:
There is nothing, nothing in the world like African-American culture.