Oakland Morning


Mornings in an urban neighborhood can be inscrutably stark. Last night’s chill remains in the air. Last night’s unbidden bodily fluids remain on the sidewalks, heaped in viscous knurls. Store owners are just arriving to set up shop and hose the mysterious gunge piles off the streets. Pedestrians can’t tell which puddles are hose-water and which are urine. The equivocal stains on these sidewalks only get deeper, more layered, everlasting. Ossified street folk are at the terminus of a dark day and preparing for their first bucolic nap in the sunshine.


Baby strollers and shopping carts packed with garbage bags must be carefully safeguarded from predators of every ilk. Inveterate Chinese scavengers begin their day poking through dumpsters collecting sluiced bottles and cans, wearing wide brimmed hats, gloves, and dust masks. Morning traffic yields to hobos pushing shopping carts filled with recyclables down the middle of the street, against traffic. The average bicycle, if properly secured, will balance up to four large garbage bags filled to capacity with glass. A shopping cart can hold around ten. Since it is a business district, Saturdays remain relatively quiet, even at 10am. All businesses are closed and gated, except for a spare few of the cafes. The majority of their customers will have begged and bargained for the change they use to buy their coffee, mumbling epithets as they inhale the heated brew.

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