Walnut Creek at Night
Yesterday, I took the BART. I got off at Oakland City Center, and began to wander. I first found a gaming store — what a fortuitous start! And the rest of it was Oakland Chinatown, which I told Yayoi about later … Asianania is just a BART ride away!
The highlights were:
- Bananas for 40c/pound. This is Devon Avenue prices. Walnut Creek is 80c. I bought some Bananas just because.
- A black lady taking a break from her salon complimented me on my hat. Actually, on Thursday, Bill remarked that it looked like an old Italian guy’s hat, and I told him that actually I did buy it in Italy.
- I had a decent cheeseburger in a Korean-run, downtown lunch cafe.
I made my way back to Walnut Creek, and still had a Saturday Evening to kill. I wandered downtown, where there is a movie theater. Unfortunately, it is mostly crap. They were playing “Ray” on one screen but I would have to wait two hours. I settled on “The Grudge” which was a horror movie in the “Lost in Translation” genre, meaning it was about Americans in Tokyo — I think the Japanese government must be promoting this stuff — and it was with the hard-to-follow a-linear plot format. The nice thing about that, from the producer’s point-of-view, is that you can hide the problems with the plot that way. Anyway, it was a fairly scary mess of a movie. I watched it because Yayoi might enjoy it, except it would probably be too scary for her, so it is okay if she missed it, if that makes any sense. Really I was just bored and lonely.
After the movie I walked past crowded bars that revealed to me the awful flip-side of Walnut Creek’s Soccer Mom Weekdays — Frat Boy Nightlife! That was creepier than monsters running around a suburban Tokyo house. One drunkish guy eyed me and my old Italian guy’s hat and French sweater and muttered “fag” . . . I could only take that as a compliment. Next time I hope to respond in kid, “frat boy” and we can all get along with our labels. Dan Savage’s words just brought me back to last night’s exchange:
For at least the next four years, American lefties, artists, and queers should not consider this land our land, it is not a land of opportunity that spreads from sea to shining sea. No, we live on a chain of islands, an archipelago, not a continent. Sane people live on our islands–New York, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Portland, Madison, Austin, Boston, and on and on, basically all the cities, in red states and blue, that voted for Kerry–and we may not be the majority right now, and it may feel like sea levels are rising, but, hey, we own all the best real estate. We’ve got the cities, the Northeast, the Midwest, and West Coast. And what have they got? The Wal-Marts, the West Virginias, the Alabamas, the McMansions, and the mega-churches. Fuck ’em. Let ’em have that crap. We’ll fight the fuckers in two years during the midterm elections and take back Congress. And we’ll take ’em on again in four years and take back the White House. In the meantime, enjoy island life.
Today I walked through a church parking lot, in the outskirts of the San Francisco metroplex, and spied an illegally-parked Toyoto Prius with a Bush-Cheney bumper sticker in the rear window. There was a printed note on the windshield reminding the driver that they had parked inappropriately. But I had to stare a few moments at the Hybrid Car with the Oilman Endorsement. It is not so simple as islands in a sea of red — the truth is that America is schizophrenic, and while I happily cast my lot with the queers, it is the ability to understand and articulate our own ideas with the rest of our countrymen that is going to bring us success. The Republicans know how to talk to America, even if their message is crude and backwards. We, the articulate liberals, can do better. We must do better. We will do better. We can not insulate or isolate ourselves from the people who out-voted us. We are married to our backward cousins, and we must bring them with us in to the light, because we can only go together.
We may live on a chain of islands, but like Barack Obama, the distinguished Senator from Illinois, we can and must walk without fear among the Red Sea with words of compassion, and understanding and unity. Call me a fag, and I’ll call you a frat boy, but from there we have to have enough good humor to get together and have a beer and work it out.
But not in Walnut Creek, the lines at the bars are too long.