Wednesday, February 1, 2012

you can send your gifts of crystal to me anytime

dear oakland,

i still love you.

the older version of me than the youngin' that first met you

fifteen years ago today, on february 1, 1997, i moved to this fair city.
that's a long time!
we're talking crystal if you look at the traditional anniversary gifts,
so i look forward to some fantastic surprises in my mailbox.

yes, it's much maligned;
yes, it has its issues, but oakland is a wonderful city with so many hidden treasures. (that's what you don't read about when you are reading about violence and occupy oakland and all of the other headline grabbing stuff)
some of the best restaurants and coffee shops reside in the o.
some of my dearest friends and family live here.
some of my most favorite & defining moments have happened in this city.

i'd never lived anywhere for more than five years in my whole life until i moved here. i never imagined i'd still be here, but like the oak trees that grace oakland's logo, i've put my roots down here.

tonight i was describing how i feel about oakland. i think this city is that person in everyone's family, immediate or extended- you know, the random uncle who dances like a madman at weddings or your irrepressible sibling- who's a little crazy, maybe somewhat reckless, who keeps making bad decisions, but you love them anyway because they have all of these other great qualities. then they go being irresponsible again and you roll your eyes in exasperation; just when you write them off for good, they remind you why you loved them in the first place. sometimes this city is up dancing on a table, 3 drinks in when it's supposed to be daddy-daughter dance- that's all i'm saying.

happy 15th anniversary, oakland 
(and to you too, amy & nancy, since we all stumbled into that house on benevides back in february 1997, young, footloose & fancy-free, 
with a freaky landlord who had a penchant for leather vests and unbuttoned animal print shirts 
and a house that threatened to slide down the hill into the creek at any moment. 
oh, those were the good ole' days. 
at this time of night 15 years ago i was probably standing in the middle of the hallway connecting our three rooms, while the two of you had long changed into pj's and hopped into your beds. some things never change- the household is all quiet, long asleep, and i'm wide awake)! 
here's to 15 years of different addresses and zip codes, but one home.


  1. I miss California! Oakland sounds like an awesome, eclectic place to live. Also? It has sunshine. And I love any place that has sunshine. Could you send us some? Happy "anniversary!"

    1. You don't even want to know how warm it is out. If this was when I was young & wrinklefree, I'd grab my roommates and go lay out to get a tan.

  2. I have been thinking a lot about Oakland recently, too. 15 years--wow. Benevides forever.

    1. Oakland is cray cray. Can you believe how long ago benevides seems?

  3. I love this love letter to your Oakland.


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