Tuesday, February 9, 2010

E! True Hollywood Story: Oakland, California

It might just be as bad as you think it is...

One of these days, I'll have an anecdote, and I will remember it. And when I remember it, I will write it here, and the words will work together, and it will be hilarious. And I will finally feel accomplished. Until then, I have pictures, and a couple quippy remarks. I hope you can make due for the time being.

The move from Houston, Texas to Oakland, California has caused several quizzical expressions and even more "how many times have you almost gotten shot" -type questions from family, friends and other concerned parties. To answer and lay to rest these occurrences, I have decided to put together a bit of a play-by-play of everyday life in my Oakland.

This is my home. Please note, this is not a crack house. There are no drug deals going down in the garage, no hookers or "maybe-ladies" hanging out of the windows looking for business. There are no tricked-out neon green Buick LaSabre's rolling on 22's down my street - and people don't try to sell me bedazzled OBAMA t-shirts outside my front door.

This is a lemon tree. That's right, about a half-block away from my house, there is a fully functioning lemon tree. I should note, however, that for me, this is a hazardous landmark. Because lemons come off their branches, and there is someone in my neighborhood that likes to assemble pyramids out of those fallen soldiers. Yes, 9-piece pyramids right in the middle of the sidewalk. Also, my name is Eleanor and if there is something to trip over, I will find it. Have you guessed the ending? Face hits pavement, lemons running amuck everywhere, old people laughing. Happy Friday.
The good news? There are no lemon trees in the urban ghetto. Score 1 for my Oakland.

Author's Note: I asked Shelby for a synonym for tree. She came up with 'arboreal structure.' It was too good to steal, but I had to share.

And now we have Lake Merritt, the substantial body of water within a quarter-mile radius of my non-Meth Lab residence. Check out those blue skies (thank you, Bay Area), blue water (thank you wide-angle for missing the trash along the edges), and the guy in the blue jacket (who, I swear, is not homeless.)

One of my favorite types of trees, found quite frequently around the edges of the lake. And no, they did not choose these trees because they are more challenging to pass out underneath, though I have witnessed some pretty fascinating vagabond sleeping arrangements. Not under these trees, of course. Because I don't live in the Tenderloin. (If you don't understand the reference, look here.)

Oakland Trees.
If I lived in the ghetto, these would have been chopped down, carved out (trees make a great place to stash your coke bag when the cops are around) and just set on fire 'cause "we were just so high, man." So I am using this giant plants as proof that I live in a decent area, where we like green things (in moderation of course) and oxygen.

Author's Note: My knowledge of illegal narcotics and places to hide said drugs is strictly from movies and wikipedia. I feel the need to reiterate: I am not addicted to cocaine.

My hills. My movie theater. Not exactly inner-city Compton is it? Sorry to dash your dreams of my gangster-ridden lifestyle. But Wait! There is hope.

From time to time, I do enjoy livin' the thug life. Just like this guy.
This guy, and I, we're straight thuggin' it all over the 5-1-0, G.

...and then there's this guy. Everyone else is wearing headphones for a reason, sir. We don't want to hear your arbitrary strumming. Listening to you repeat the first 4 chords of your favorite Crosby, Stills and Nash tune is not enjoyable ambiance for the rest of us. Please, put the guitar down, and do some silent pondering or something. Don't be THAT guy. No one really likes THAT guy.

This is a shout out to some poor, disgruntled, undereducated conspiracist. The Bay Area is full of anti-government, love and let love hippies, and that's all fine and wonderful. But political statements scribbled on top of electrical boxes should really have a spell-check feature. So here's to you, paranoid douchebag, there is only the 1 e in 'poisoned' and your arrow is technically pointing to a janitorial closet. But nice try.

So there you have it. Not once have I been shot at. Not once have I had to ask my neighbors to keep the rap-battles to a dull roar. Not once have I had to explain why I simply don't think I need a crack rock. And not once have I high-fived a twenty-dollar hooker on my way home.

My sincerest apologizes if I have shattered dreams of my elusive lifestyle in the Five-Ten area. But do not fret, because every once and a while, I venture out of my corner of the bay, and there are sights to be seen. Hopefully, when my ability to write wanders back to me (or I ask my parents to FedEx it, since I might have left it back in Houston, accidentally) I will be able to share those moments and events.

Until then, Raider Nation, Let's go A's, and something about the Sharks.


  1. let's go a's for damn sure!

  2. I think it's funny that when you say Oakland people automatically go, "oh.......have you seen anyone get shot?"

    It's nice to have PROOF that there is beauty in Oakland. And you get to live in the middle of it! Yay!

    Lovin' yer photoz!