February 6, 2017
Sir...You're flying to Oakland
In order to stay young, you must change.
The world is a blur.
I go to the airport, and don't even know where I'm flying to. Seriously. I don't think that's ever happened to me before.
I'm standing at the gate to fly to Ontario. And she's like..."Sir...you're flying to Oakland."
FUck me. So I am. Yes. That's right.
In Oakland, I just can't really believe that anything is real. Sensory overload. Like...this is your life. Take 2 steps forward.
They're jackhammering up the street outside my building. They're refurbishing the building behind us into Uber's headquarters.
Fresh cut flowers on the corner. At lunch, homeless people crawl in out of the rain and huddle noisily in the corner.
You don't see this in the mountains of Colorado. You can sort of distance yourself very easily from the world around you. You can hide from civilization without much effort.
But out here, in the city, you're sort of thrust back into the game.
Everything is very intense. Competitive.
After work, I catch Pittsburgh train up to Rockridge station. As I'm leaving the station, I pass a woman. She's fallen and she can't get up. A small girl bawls inconsolably beside her. A couple of BART personnel are hunched over her. She's splitting her jeans from the ankle up. Tearing away her pants leg. The whole scene is surreal. It's so different in the city. You just don't see this shit in the mountains. I just keep walking. I'm not clear that I can help.
Get out and start wandering down College Avenue in the dark, in a light rain.
Find my room that I rented on Air BNB and it's just so nice. No words. I'm wandering across the street, looking for dinner.
Like, I'm so exhausted there just aren't words. Some type of emergency ambulance type vehicle comes blaring down the street, piercing the night with bright lights and sharp sirens. And then another. And another.
The city lurches from crisis to crisis. Lights and sirens. Awful emergencies that paint the fear in you. Make you glad you're alive, but also imminently aware of how close we are to a sudden, painful death.
Stop into a chinese restaurant for dinner.
At the table next to me, two children are stealing the show. "They grow up fast," I want to say, but I don't say anything. They don't need my advice.
At the end of the meal, I hear the parents reading a fortune. "In order to stay young, you must change."
They disappear into the rainy night and afterwards, I wander down towards all of the emergency vehicles at the Rockridge BART stop. Ask a homeless guy what's going on.
"Some lady fell....I think...that's what I heard just now anyway."
And I think about that. It was the woman that I saw on the ground trying to gnaw her foot off. With her little girl bawling her eyes out in her arms. And I walked right by without stopping. I'm sure there's a special place in hell for me, but it's not like I could help her.
Now, I'm thinking I could use a beer before I crash for the night. Ben N Nicks is across the street. Now if I can just get there without watching someone die.
Posted by Rob Kiser on February 6, 2017 at 9:20 PM