I had a dream.
Yesterday I talked to my friend Josh (who, shamefully, doesn't read my blog much) and he told me Oakland was the same ol', same ol'. People getting shot, mattresses in the street, etc. And then, last night, I had this dream.
In the dream, I was living in an apartment on College Avenue, not far from the bookstore where I used to work. Except this version of College was a bit darker and seedier than the affluent wonderland that is Rockridge. In my version, there were dog fights, people getting stabbed, people fighting, trash everywhere. And try as we, the tenants, might, we simply couldn't get the area cleaned up. Call the BPD, they'd say it was the OPD's responsibility. Call the OPD, they'd say Berkeley. Keep in mind this is somewhere around 60th and Telegraph, where the geography is a bit split up like that. That's pretty much all I have to say about that; I just thought it was interesting. Like home reaching out to me with a little bit of irony.
Another version of home reaching out to me (and one much more friendly) is that I went to see Jonathan Lethem read tonight. It was at a gallery called Das Haus der Kulturen der Welt (The House of World Cultures) and it wasn't the sort of intimate, folding-chair reading that I'm used to. It was an auditorium, and complete with very serious commentary by two women in black, who debated and reacted and got into the problems of copyright and influence. I was pleased. Jon Lethem was, actually, wonderful. I think so many stacks of so many copies of his books over the last few years caused me to turn away from him (though some very dear friends of mine endorsed him fervently). He was humble and well-spoken and truly interested in things other than himself (which is not always the case with Very Popular Writers) and so I come away with both thumbs firmly up. Unfortunately, a paperback copy of his new book cost almost 18 Euros, which is about 24 or 25 dollars, and I simply couldn't justify the expense. A shame, that, because the excerpts he read from his newest book, You Don't Love Me Yet, were wonderful.
And so, I had a 24 hour period of little bits of the Bay, and now I'll go back into Berlin, into tandem language partners and tax numbers. Stories from that to follow shortly.