So, here's the deal...wandered into Tommy's Joynt the other day and immediately saw Fat Tony and his girlfriend, Tina, she of the old Northbeach gang who's actually Italian and whose family are regulars at Sodini. "This city is changin'', she uttered out. "You don't say?," I respond.
"It's like 4 grand a month to get a box room in the 'Tenderloin --Jesus Christ!" Poor souls, now that's why they're moving over to Oakland.
Everyone seems sort of cranky lately. Bored too. Energized? No. You can sense the lack of urgency too, just take a stroll around town. July is all but disappearing and August is beckoning which is a bummer because August is the lost month here and everywhere. The calendar says there's almost two months of Summer left but you feel otherwise. The days are getting shorter, marginally sure, but that peak of bright light is fading fast, that's the way it is when you get older.
It's now essentially impossible to park in this city. As I mentioned too, people are ticked off. The lunatics on the bikes feel they own the road and act as if you dare pass them, they give you that collective "screw you!" look--we're on bikes, we are God! Yeah, Critical Mass, God's gift to the world.
The audio blast on terrestrial morning radio is too bad to morph. They were doing fart noises, again, on KKKSFO. Duck calls too. And they repeat the same shit over and over and over. We're supposed to think this is funny and entertaining, "thanks Brian". Someone call the culture police. Over on KGO the morning giggler was in full tactical force--can't wait until her insatiably horrific, "It's FRIDAY!" barks out loud, how and why she thinks this is cute and fuzzy is beyond me. Maybe she's auditioning for Glee. At KNBR, the frat boys were into their 27th pop culture reference that nobody cares about nor nurtures--it was something Giants/UCLA/sound effect/Marin/Jersey/Grateful Dead/Atlanta Braves/Fake East Coast accent kinda deal-- the usual morning dreck draped around innocuous "updates" and highlights from 24 hours ago. Wonderful stuff. 7-11 coffee and the last doughnut with multiple touches from fat trucker guys from the Mission.
Van Ness is a mess. Has a rhyme to it. Noisy too. Just like Market and the Embarcadero. Everyone on their smartphones, or as Christine Craft aptly calls them, smartass phones. How 'bout this? I go into Boulevard at the bar and some schmuck, probably from Ohio, has the audacity to place not one, not two, not three, but FOUR!, (4) phones on the bar--I look at the bartender as if to say, "hey this is not cool --we're not at Starbucks!" and he looks at me as if I'm coming in from another planet. I finally cannot take it--I bark out: "You're not going to allow this, are you?" He gives me a look of resignation, "aw shucks", I immediately vacate the premises. There's a reason why I had a certain lack of trust for Boulevard --an otherwise swell, over-priced restaurant that long ago jumped the shark. My opinion. I should have stayed at Tommy's or bolted for old standby Tadich but the line was out the door. No patience.
BACK to Oakland...Oakland, hipster west. Brooklyn of the Bay but too many, "I'm cooler than you"-looking twenty-somethings dressed in jeans coming out of the Pandora building. Oakland is getting more crowded and expensive and that's just the start of the problem, thank you hipster, over-priced rent-out-of-control San Francisco. Oakland still has too many murders, too much yellow, crime-scene tape but even those neighborhoods are becoming gentrification-central. Temescal is flooded with tattoo-laden yups making $60 grand a year as "artists"--just what the hell artiste they perform is a mystery--nobody knows for sure. Uptown is thriving with more and more restaurants and bars--great, just what we need. Prime space for the upcoming rent-a-mob that attacks downtown whenever the next urban trial has a not-guilty verdict. Why these morons vandalize Oakland is beyond me, (again), the city that is home to the Hells Angels, the birthplace of the Black Panthers and landing spot for Students for a Democratic Society, Berkeley's port outpost, but I digress.
Oakland is quickly losing its special heritage. Kwik Way, the greasy-greatest bad burger; where the cops used to go and gouge four to five cheeseburgers, Doggie Diner-divine, has been rearranged into a crappy fraud of itself. The new burgers are horrible--taste shitty and nothing like the original...Lake Merritt is goner too. Oh, it's nice and clean for a change but it too has been overtaken by the new hipster yuppies --try to find a parking space on Grand Avenue, good luck. Thankfully, there's Chinatown --my favorite place to relax, read the print-edition NY Times and get the best wonton soup, cheap too. Nirvana baby.
Time for work.
*Follow me on Twitter