... as you are probably tired of hearing me whine.
I slept for 10 hours straight, and then for one more because I could, and was still up early, for a Saturday. So I planned on taking the train to San Francisco, maybe spend the day in the library, or go explore some places I hadn't seen yet. But, reading the newspaper, I found out that several anti-war demonstrations were to be held in the city, and I didn't feel like getting into any fray in a foreign country, however much I agreed with the principle of the thing.
I went to Oakland instead, this time not to T___ (I thought about it, but I had just stored the computer away and was too lazy to get it out again to look up her phone number), but to Jack London Square to have coffee while watching the ships, visit the bookstore, get postcards and see if I found anything nice.
Outside, it was raining, and the air was hazy and grey. The unusual light made everything seem a lot more familiar. The hills were dark grey-green shades in the grey air. After the train had passed the hills, the rain stopped and the grey became a little lighter. The train was packed with people, many carrying cardboard anti-war signs. I got off the train at 12th Street, which is the closest BART station to Jack London Square. From there it's a 12-block walk, maybe ten minutes. Many streets had Chinese signs in addition to the English ones. There wasn't much traffic, and with the strange light of the sun behind a thin layer of clouds it just stopped short of the effect you might see in a zombie movie before the horde of rampant undead appears: "Say, isn't it a little quiet here? Where is everyone?" Of the few people on the street, most were beggars, and most shops were empty or closed. The area where T___ lives is a lot more alive. I passed under the Interstate, and then saw something truly amazing: A full-sized double-decker passenger train, pulled by a smoking, hooting diesel locomotive crossed the street. Words have a hard time conveying the strangeness of this, as most of you will have seen railroad crossings, even if they are getting rare in Germany. What made it amazing was that this didn't look like a railroad crossing, not at all. And when I came closer I saw that the train had been driving in the middle of the road, like a streetcar. But it was a full-sized train. I still smelled the diesel exhaust.
Jack London Square was as empty as the streets had been, or more so, for it lacked beggars. Everything was wide and open. You couldn't see over the Bay, because an island (Alameda?) is between the Oakland marina/harbour and the Bay. The Bay Bridge was barely visible through the haze. I walked around some, watched the boats, and the seagulls, and a young man throwing kelp-covered stones into the dirty brown water. The only shops other than the bookstore and some feeding places were two ethnic shops and a kayak rental. I browsed some of the ethnic stuff, but nothing gave me a good reason to buy it, so I only got postcards. The bookstore didn't seem as large as the ones I visit regularly and was less welcoming. So I spent a little more time with looking at the marina, enjoying the strange light, and more hooting trains driving in the middle of a street, and then I walked back to the BART station. The street hadn't become any more lively.
On the other side of the hills it was still raining, and as I was wearing my good shoes, my socks were soaked before I reached my car. I stuffed the socks under the passenger seat before I stopped at a local bookstore, got some books and a map, but no coffee -- I felt completely awake already, and had wet feet. Instead I got a large pizza at the pizza place next door and drove back. I didn't even forget the socks under the seat. It's amazing what I'm capable of when I'm not tired.
And since then, I've been drinking tea, doing laundry, and spending too much time online.