Monday, August 29, 2005

Some Call it "Berserkley"

I went on an adventure this morning. I took the 43 bus into Albany, where I imagined I hadn’t been before.

As it turns out, the client lives right near the little hip Solano Avenue district I pass through and shop in when I housesit for another family.

The lady and her ten year old daughter showed me the little house and yard. They have a trampoline AND a hot tub. I shall be in bliss.

I was repeatedly jumped on, slobbered over, and barked at by their Springer spaniel. The eighteen year old cat just lay on the back of the couch and purred for about an hour, solid. She returned my whisker rubs with cat drool, as I expected.

On the way back, I hiked up to Half Price books. I hadn’t eaten, so I stopped in at an Indian restaurant and got watermelon juice (?!), garlic naan, and veggie samosas. I didn’t eat the naan, because with my previously frozen tikka masala, it’d be dinner. But I occupied a bench in front of a nail parlor and had a quick samosa moment.

A pair of fiftyish ladies exited a Honda, sniffed the air, and made a beeline for me. I had my headset on, so I didn’t really pay any attention until one addressed me. “What is that?”

I squinted up at her and explained, “It’s a samosa, you know, potatoes, peas and spices wrapped in pastry and deepfried. ‘S really good.”

“Where’d you get it?”

“That Indian place right next to the café there on the corner about a block down.”

I don’t know that they said thank you, and frankly I didn’t care then and don’t care now. You wanna interrogate me rudely? Ask me what I’m eating; I’ll be happy to tell you.

I did notice that those ladies spent less than 15 minutes in the quilting shop, came out and headed down the block toward the Indian restaurant.

I spent a lovely hour or so browsing the bookstore, and managed to get out of there without spending more than $20. For me, that’s a raging success.

On the bus on the way into Berkeley, I saw this little older black woman dressed in classic 50’s “bull dagger” style. She was the cutest thing. We had a short conversation until we got off the bus downtown, and she cracked me up several times.

I finished an earlier transaction at the library. Last week I’d thought I’d returned all my books and went to check out five more. Turned out I’d forgotten one, and owed late fees. I don’t really think I was supposed to be able to check anything out, but after I paid the late fees, the clerk overrode the hold and let me off with me new books and a reminder to find the other one. It was, of course, under a pile of stuff I’d checked under about five times. *sigh*

California is such an odd experience. I’m beginning to understand why all the patients think everything is negotiable, because it kinda is. The boy at the convenience store who sells me beer, doesn’t know the exact prices. So, I give him approximately what I feel like paying, and go away.

I’m beginning to think taking acid in Berkeley would be overkill. It’s just so damned surreal the way it is that I don’t need to adjust my attitude to feel like I’m on another planet. A vastly superior one, by the way.


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