In my yarn/writing room, my desk sits right in front of the window, which looks out on our street. We live in a culdesac, one street south of MacArthur in East Oakland. MacArthur is a bit rough, but our little street is sweet, with good neighbors and single family houses, and the creek running behind us.
There’s an old brown-shingled salmon-colored house across the street, and behind that, on MacArthur, is a church. Over that, I can see the green hill that rises suddenly above our neighborhood. We walk the dogs up there often, and from that hill, you have the BEST view of all of Oakland, Alameda, the bay and across it, from the San Mateo bridge to the Golden Gate, and all of the San Francisco skyline.
Someday I’ll write about the racial lines of demarcation that the hill represents. It’s mindblowing, really, from where we live in the flats, mostly black and a few hispanic families, to that hill where it goes suddenly and steeply UP for eight or nine blocks. Black families at the bottom, hispanic in the middle, and white at the top. I do not exaggerate. It is freaky and bizarre and scary and sad and astonishing, and is so vastly interesting to me that I’m only touching on it today, and then leaving it behind. Someday I’ll do something with the things I think in my head about it, but this blog post isn’t the time.
What I AM writing about today is what I see out my window. Arnold, our neighbor across the street, has family over. Arnold is older, and walks slowly, but is more active than I’ll ever be. He takes care of the even older couple who live in the shingled house next door to him, and keeps up their lawn. He spends hours every day in his own yard, wearing a blue coverall and a newsboy cap. He has glasses and a small gray beard. He lent us his lawnmower when we moved in when he saw Lala cutting the grass with scissors. Right now he’s sweeping the driveway while his nephew, the WORST parallel parker in the history of the universe, washes his car. Two younger kids have run inside — I’ve never seen them before but I think they’re attached somehow to the nephew.
I’ve watched my calico cat Adah go in and out of every yard on the block, and she’s been trying to get Arnold’s attention now for ten minutes, arching her back prettily and turning her paw toward him in the sun. He’s busy now with a low camellia bush, sweeping leaves from underneath it and pays her no attention. She’ll move on in a moment; she doesn’t have time for those who Don’t Pet.
Inside, I’m propped in my armchair now, still looking out the window, but now over my shoulder. Harriet is sitting next to me, watching Harriet TV out the window. Miss Idaho is sharing the space with my slippered feet on my footstool and she’s wrestling with Clara. There’s a lot of growling and not much action. Both appear lazy. I’m drinking green tea after having finished my muffin. This is my day off, and I plan on doing nothing except perhaps some yard work and a run to the beach with the dogs. Oh, maybe a Trader Joe stop.
Arnold just did the smartest thing: he rolled his green waste can out to the sidewalk where he’d swept up all those leaves, then he laid it on its side, opened the top and swept all the stuff in. I always use the rake and try to lift that stuff into the can, which never, ever works. Nice.
Dogs are killing each other! How fun! Harriet’s going for Clara’s underbelly, since really, that’s all she can reach.
I’m going to drink more tea and enjoy my day off. Running every other day lately has given me the unexpected benefit of feeling like a lazy slob on the days that I don’t have to, and I love feeling like a lazy slob. Oh, yeah.
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