Monday, March 24, 2008

My Last Defense part 5

I got back on my bicycle and started north towards Grand St. Grand st. runs along the north part of the lake going from west Oakland into east Oakland. Above the lake, Grand st. is composed of a few small apartment buildings and small shops. There is a tacqueria or two and some corner stores. The apartments are occupied by young business professionals, their partners, and their dogs. Thee immediate residents can often be seen circling the lake for their daily exercise.

Grand intersects telegraph avenue six blocks from the lake. Telegraph is another major north south thoroughfare like San Pablo. The shock troops of gentrification, hipsters and artists, have long established claims on areas of Telegraph. Around 22nd and telegraph is a bastion of this progress. A small, dingy cafe called "Mama Buzz" sits on the eastern side of the street. A hundred meters south of the cafe is an art space called "Paper, Rocks Scissors." Fixed gear bikes, and chain smoking twenty somethings litter the outside of the cafe and art space. The two house trendy, dirtbag, hipsters who excrete art. Moving further north is an Asian section composed of sushi restaurants, karaoke bars, and Korean market.

It took me about 15 minutes to ride from downtown Oakland to the upper edge of Oakland. Oakland turns into Berkeley around 67th street. Somewhere after the White Horse, the east bay's gay bar, is the border between the two towns. After riding past the gay bar, and the liquor store with the same name across the street, I stopped at the Whole Foods that is a few blocks below the intersection between Ashby and Telegraph.

Despite my sleepy and delirious state I wanted to pick up a few things. My housemates (I have two) and I share food but one of them had recently eaten all the avocados. For the last month or so I'd been making all my sandwiches with avocados. I enjoyed the thick, creamy texture of an avocado in my fake turkey sandwiches. It provided a nice compliment to the other sandwich ingredients:fake turkey, lettuce, tomatoes, and mustard.

The Whole Foods is mid sized and unlike the Berkeley Bowl, the other "organic" market in the north Oakland/Berkeley area, is frequented by a more bourgeoisie crowd. The prices are slightly more expensive and the ambiance more sophisticated. There are more gourmet cheeses, pastries and meats than at the Berkeley Bowl. The staff is composed of regular working class folk with a decent spattering of tattooed, and pierced hipsters. I picked out a few avacodoes and some pico de gallo flavored tortilla chips.

The cashier was an inch or two taller than me at 5'8" with shoulder length brown hair and light brown eyebrows. She had fair skin and was dressed in a nondescript blue shirt and jeans. Her name tag said "Leslie."

"How are you?" she asked.

"I'm fine."

"It will be $7.86. Do you want a bag?" she said.

"No. I can fit in my bag."

I stuffed the groceries into my messenger bag and walked toward the exit.

"Have a nice day," she said.

I made no reply. I'd locked my bicycle to the handicap sign immediately outside the grocery store. I unlocked my bicycle and stuck my small lock into my back pocket. The back of my jean pocket had become worn and loosened after constantly holding my lock.

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