Oakland is weird, man. I definitely don’t hate it. It is like a spaceport for pirates and smugglers. It is Mos Eisley. People stay for a while, work a little, go somewhere else, come back.
I went into Donut Farm the other day and dudes who worked there a year ago are back in the kitchen. These people had moved to other states, for crying out loud! And now they’re back. How did this happen? I guess I’m back too. Everyone is back. None of us are actually from Oakland but we are trapped in its gravitational pull. They asked me to come back and work. I could probably ask for more money. But no, I really have to go! I have to go north, I think. That’s what I think. I really have to do it.
Though, in the meanwhile, I’ve been having me a good old time walking around and showing up in places I used to go. Last night I went to the bar where I worked and the bartender, who is a good friend of mine, made me drinks all night. A bunch of people I know just happened to show up and we had a good old time together. I look different now—my head is shaved and I wear a little wool knit cap since it’s cold having a shaved head—and so I’m sort of in disguise! And when people figure out who I am it’s like I’ve come back from the dead. It’s actually really interesting. You know what, I like this place.
But I really have to go! I think . . . I don’t know. I’m going. If I start to miss it that much I can always get on a plane. It’s an hour flight, for God’s sake. That’s nothing. It’s like $70. I know a million people who would put me up for a weekend. I don’t know.
When I was inches away from going back to Texas, I got sort of creeped out. You only think of time passing for you where you are. You forget it is passing for everyone everywhere else. And so when I talked to the few people I still knew in Austin, it felt like it was too late. That time had passed. I would be trying to jump back into something that is no longer there . . . I may as well have never lived there, or have known anywhere there as well, when you think about going back, because it is all ghostly and gone. To return would mean to learn a city again, and to be alone until you weren’t. And then what? Who the heck knows, man.
Which is why, after being away from Oakland for three months and returning to it, I feel strange leaving it again. Because in a few years all of this will go away and I’ll never get it back. Though I reckon that’s everything you ever do for the rest of your life. I can’t help but think, you know, that all these people are still here, and I am leaving them. It will all break away, and become something else, and it will be unrecognizable to me and I will be unrecognizable to it . . . but that hasn’t happened yet! Is it wise to leave while there is still life in something? I don’t know. I don’t know anything. Oakland is still dirty, still dangerous, and still extremely overpriced. I can’t take any of that shit anymore. But at least the place has balls. Balls the size of Jupiter, even. Say what you will, you can just kind of do anything here, which is beautiful. My friends and I used to call Oakland the “Whatever, Man” capital of the world. Hell, there are so many different kinds of people here, and it’s always weird and heavy. I love that. It makes me sad to walk away from that.
I don’t know. I’m going to poke around up north. I’ll see how it looks. I think it will be fine. But then I don’t know.