Saturday, June 16, 2007

California Dreamin'

I awoke on my first day in Berkeley with the sun blazing like those California dreaming days of my youth. Oh, that hot sun by the Bay, sweeter for the rarity. I woke with a song. I thought it was the radio - no, live! "YOU ARE MY DESTINY..." It sounded like the original. Wow, right outside my window, "he was singing real good for free" as Joni Mitchell sings it. And LOUD. Sweet, rich, superb. He was walking through the parking lot right outside the apartment, sustaining his notes as he walked. Wow, fantastic and so Berkeley. I got up and went to the window in the beautiful empty wood floor office room with the sliding glass door right outside my bedroom, and I could see him: "YOU ARE MY DESTINY" as he began his song all over again. So professional sounding - and LOUD. Hard to do and still hit the notes. Man, is this town talented, or what? I watched him and listened, enjoying this living alarm clock. An elegant looking older black man with a fedora or some kind of hat cocked at an angle. There's a hospital in the back, maybe he was a doctor or orderly on his way to the shift, and getting in the mood: "YOU ARE MY DESTINY..." When he finished the second round, I burst into applause. LOUD! He held his final note (still LOUD) while he looked around to see where it was coming from. He couldn't tell, but took off his hat anyway and bowed in my general direction with his leg crossed over the other like Shirley Temple. Man, what a country! What a town.

Food's good and good for you. I live right across from the Whole Foods where my step-mother, Susan, painted a mural. It's an easy town to go vegetarian. It's an easy town to furnish a whole apartment from the free listings on Craig's list. It's amazing what people give away here. How it appeals to this poor kid little former dumpster diver. We went to the library and checked out the summer class offerings for my son. I played house and scrubbed I don't how many semester's off the walls. YUCK! And I'm not known for being the tidiest person. The apartment has no smoke detector and smells faintly of boys. I felt a series of tiny earthquakes beneath my feet. The sky was BLUE and I can almost see the Bay from the balcony.

I had to just rest today from so much moving furniture. I'm in full Lucy Ricardo mode here - YOU ARE MY DESTINY. I'm addicted to the free listings: I want two free renovated mobile homes ("You Haul") and I actually found a guy with a 23' truck and pallet lift to pick up pallets of free brand new furniture for forty bucks cash for gas ("50 pieces at time, please"). I think I'm going to go into the furniture business and fund my summer. By the time I get there there's only ottomans and futon drawers (I had to google them to figure what the heck they were) left - "50 identical pieces at a time, please" "You gotta lotta esplaining to do, Lucy." We share a birthday, Lucy and I. I go home and to a clean geranium smelling apartment, and think, my guardian angels are with me. I want flowers and barbequed tofu. I want to eat at the Brazilian shack restauarant on the corner. I want to hear jigs and reels. I crank up John Mayer's "Waiting On the World to Change" and tell my son, "Don't bother me, I'm dancing." He acts like this is normal. It is. The new me.

Berkeley, YOU ARE MY DESTINY! Sing it loud. Aho!

I write an ad for Craig's list for the brand new luxury tapestry comforter set I just bought in Colorado for $24 and ask for $250. Marked down from $389. I throw in my silk pillowcases ($100 original/$25 markdown at Tuesday Morning) and think, heck with shlepping a king bed up these stairs. I get 5 inquiries. Cash only. I need it, I'm getting down to my last $20 - the poet's life of waiting for the check for last year's reading to arrive, and it's a long way to payday. I dance well. I can see my reflection in the far window. The front blinds are open and I can be seen through the sheer floral curtains I bought along with the bedding that's too big and bulky for my queen futon I bought on Craig's list for $20. Good, I think, I'm the new neighbor who dances by herself in her livingroom. "She was dancing real good and free," they'll say. "I was getting good stuff for free..." I change Joni's words and sing. LOUD. As the shimmer of the earth rises to the surface from the little quakes, and I think of the monumental task ahead of clearing my 3,000 square foot house of furniture so we can fix it up for sale. I feel tremors. And, I dance, as the cold air from the Bay comes in on little panther feet. And, I close the window. Comforted.

"YOU ARE my destiny...".

Wanna buy a book? Poetry and poet for sale. Free.

As Dougie Maclean comes through the Bose headphones now: "FAlaLAlalala, standing on solid ground/on solid ground...". And Billy Bragg follows: "I don't think shopping's a metaphor for life."

Sing it LOUD.


Anonymous nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez said...

this post was fantastic. just what i needed today. you advertise well for this town! now i want to be there! :)

16/6/07 23:14  
Blogger liza said...

Congratulations on a new chapter of life filled with dancing and singing!
I'm in India for the summer, and your post made me a little bit homesick for Cali. I started blogging; I never realized how fun it would be.

18/6/07 03:26  
Blogger EILEEN said...

What a really lovely post!


18/6/07 17:25  
Blogger KATE EVANS said...

(re)Welcome to California!

18/6/07 20:28  

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