my fave Oakland street sign.
I’m moving in TWO days (!). As a result I wanted to share the Top Five Reasons I Love Oakland, California.
I almost closed comments as all I ask is you spend time—no matter how long—sharing & carrying these feelings alongside me.
Here is where I am compelled to acknowledge two things.
First, I rolled my eyes when people told me as we readied to move:
You will love the diversity and people in Oakland!
I love Austin! I longed to shout at them.
I’m not an idiot–I’d continue in my head–I know what diversity is. Austin is diverse.
the child & an Oakland friend.
The thing is, I may have thought I knew diversity and “keeping it weird,” but these people were correct.
I did not.
I had no idea.
Oakland offers a diversity of people and a true, authentic quirk and weird this misfit never could have imagined.
The #1 reason I love love love Oakland, California is its people.
Oh, and here’s where I do need to pause and address that second pesky thing.
There’s a good chance, a huge chance, my love affair is completely one sided.
walking my ‘hood enabled me to form myriad kinds of friendships.
There is a really, really good chance I will miss Oakland more than she will miss me.
There’s a really really good chance she wont even notice I’m gone.
And that’s OK.
Because the people to whom I refer are not my (finger quote) friends (unF.Q.) in the traditional definition of the word.
The traditional friendship bonds Ive created while here I’m confident can be maintained no matter where I reside.
It’s the people of Oakland (some might say humans. someone needs to get on the HUMANS of this city) who come together to create the fabric of the city I’ll miss seeing on a daily basis.
my “friend” who lost use of his legs yet and is more driven than anyone I know.
my “friend” who paints murals and decorated our tennis courts.
my “friend” whose front yard contains a stuffed animal tree.
my dapper teacher “friend” whose commitment to being a role model amazes me.
my QuIrKy magnifying glass toting “friend” whose entire story I never learned.
my tenacious friend Ken (AKA Bubba) whose optimism touches me each time I see him.
my fast-knitter “friend” whom I only chatted with once a week.
my FRIEND Melvin whose story I know well yet the ending I’ll never learn.
For me the people of Oakland are its greatest gift and my biggest sad about heading back to Austin.
My time here has been a gift & 18 months of learning lessons I didn’t want to be taught.
It was these people—ones whom I’m confident wont register my departure—who were my teachers.
Each in his or her own unique way.
I ripped this sit com quote out of a magazine close to a year ago and it still sum up Oakland for me in a twisted not what they meant at all sort of way:
None of us are what we seem on the surface.
No “bad areas” are all “bad areas.”
When we make the conscious choice to slow down, talk, experience, listen and pay attention the greatest gifts we never wanted to receive may appear before us.