Friday, July 19, 2013

Fruitvale Station opens in select cities today.

I don't think that I have ever been through the Fruitvale BART station.  I was usually going North or West. 

But I remember that it was a Wednesday night, that I was two hours ahead in Central Time, that I stayed up all night hitting refresh on my browser, looking for new coverage, a new photo, anything.  I remember that I'd never felt so far away. 

And now, I'm feeling very far away again.  Even the movie, which is playing across the country, is only in select cities.  The closet one is Chicago.

I don't know why I want so badly to go, why it means something to me that I see a movie, as if seeing the movie would make a difference in the world.  If I cared, aren't there better things to do about it?  


When I think about Oakland, I think about 14th Street between Broadway and the lake.  (Incidentally, when I put "Oakland, CA" into Google Maps, it puts the little location arrow at the corner of 14th and Broadway.)  I walked up and down 14th every day, from my apartment on Jackson (across from the big, old, sign proclaiming HILL CASTLE APARTMENT HOTEL) to the 40L on Broadway that would take me up Telegraph into Berkeley where I worked.

I think about the kids I saw walking up 14th, high-school age, looking like every inner city cliche you can think of.  They were angry, but it took a moment before I could make out words.  Then one of them said, "Next time I'm not going to put up with any more bullshit.  I'm gonna do all the choreography myself."

I think about the Korean BBQ that was my weakness, but cost up to $15 a plate.  Or the smoothie place, run by a woman I assumed was also Korean, where I bought my Product of Oakland t-shirts.

I think about the little mini-health-food-mart right across the street from my apartment, and the nice Yemeni guy who laughed at me because I always came in barefoot, for Ben and Jerry's pints and Amy's pizza.  He said I reminded him of home.

I think about how if I would only walk a few more blocks south I'd be in Chinatown, but I almost never did.  Mike couldn't eat dim sum anyway.

But most of my memories are black-and-white.  Because I remember the photographs I took better than I remember living through them.  I remember a burst of light running down the street at sunset, every shadow stretching as far as it could towards me.  I remember deep black shadows.

Walking down Google Street View, I'm not sure which stores I'd forgotten, and which ones weren't there six years ago.  The buildings are a lot lower than I remember them being.  I'd forgotten about the flat swaths of parking lots, the single-story buildings.  Now that I'm not photographing the way I used to, I wonder: will I remember anything?

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