I have been a stranger in a strange land

California is the only place, other than New Orleans, where I've felt like I was living in a foreign country while still in the US. Simultaneously, California being where so many trends have started, I often feel like I'm looking at where modern day America got its start. When I look at the Bay Area I feel like I'm looking at proto-America. California says to me, "This is what the rest of the country will look like in 10 years, boss." But, being proto-America, it also sometimes feels unfinished. Still evolving, even now. Everything is all disjointed and all spread out. The shopping centers all look like the same shopping center, from the Bay Area and all through Sacramento. Everything being spread out, California truly is a car culture. One has to drive everywhere. Yet, the roads and the drivers are atrocious.

Even though it, too, has that prototype feeling to it, my new home town of Martinez is still over 150 years old and eager not to become absorbed into the soup that is northern California. It's relatively peaceful, but still full of cars. Nevertheless, the downtown area is small enough that you can wander about on foot.

The other night I sat in my car, in the lot of the mechanic on Green and Ferry, leaving a note to shove under his door so as to discover the source of the fierce loud noise coming from the engine. The intersection was empty and everything was mostly quiet and dark. A television was softly burbling from the second floor of what seemed to be an auto parts warehouse with no living spaces above. Possibly a transient who had managed to carve out a home for himself.

The young lawyers were emerging from the Public Defender's office down the street. A thin, black haired woman in a smart blue business suit, and carrying a briefcase, walked past me, heels clicking sharply on the sidewalk. Her head whipped around when she saw me and then she turned and looked down at the ground, her body a mass of tensed piano wires that would have shrieked out a tune had they been strummed unexpectedly. As I walked back toward my apartment a male lawyer, in shirt and tie, tossed his head at me, in my business casual work clothes, as a greeting, possibly misidentifying me as one of his clique since I didn't look like a local.

There's not much of a night life in Martinez, that I've found so far. Ferry Street Station, on Ferry and Green, has Harley's out front but few true bikers inside. Instead, one finds 40-something, grey haired men in bowling shirts and goatees. Next to them stand their wives and girlfriends; some, true California girls, tanned and blond haired, their skin rough from the sun, a step away from melanoma. The rest of the women are heavy-set, their pendulous, stretch marked breasts straining their black tank tops for all they're worth.

There are an inordinate amount of crazies in Ferry Street Station on this Saturday night. They wander in and out of the bar, over and over, as lunatics are wont to do, unable to stand still. One can tell them by their wide-eyed, fixed gazes and their unkempt hair; wrinkled shirts on their thin frames. At least they're not as pretentious as the Harley owners.

One couple makes their way to the dance floor, the man wearing a button-down shirt and blue jeans, the woman one of the California types, with perfect tan, perfect hair, and perfect breasts. At first they dance holding hands, the man spinning the woman around, disco fashion. Then, the woman decides to try and get fancy, but she's a bit drunk and things don't go perfectly. The man, not having received the bulletin, still tries to keep up. He doesn't, and when they collide together he gives one of those fake laughs - wide mouth and head thrown back - as if to say, "Wasn't that fun, that my girlfriend made me look like a stumbling ass! Ah, what a lark, ha ha!" The bouncer/doorman, a big fellow with steel grey hair and fierce eyes, is also dancing by the front door. He jerks his head so wildly that I fear an oncoming whiplash. His eyes tell me he's one of the crazy ones.

The band at Ferry Street Station is called "Amoebas of Doom". Startling, but I take it as a hopeful sign, and they play quite a wide range of music, from Red Hot Chili Peppers, to old New Wave standards, to top 40. Nevertheless, I soon grow bored and wander down Ferry St. to another bar. College Lane.

The small crowd here is radically different. All of them very young. White trash and latinos and some college kids, maybe. The boys with their buzz-cuts and their sports team emblazoned ball caps and their white t-shirts, worn two at a time, and their awkward, loose-limbed struts. Such posturing. Such insecurity. A different kind of pretension. I like it better. The girls either dress provocatively or they wear hoodies and jeans. One latino girl gyrates to every song, eager to go to the small dance floor. Her boyfriend is only interested in sitting on a bar stool and drinking. Here, the music comes from a DJ. All rap and dance mixes. He plays Matisyahu and I'm satisfied. The bartender is a knock-out, a looker, smoking hot. I think to myself, "Ah, if I was 25 years younger." But I'm not, so I finish my beer and wander back home in the chilly air.
  • Current Mood: prototypical
  • Current Music: 95.7 Max, San Francisco
We need to meet for drinks at Ferry Street again. I would like to add that since I *wasn't* there, I do not necessarily fall into either of your two classes of women at the bar.

I didn't know they had dancing. That would have been worth seeing.
Indeed, you would not have fallen into either of the two classifications that happened to be there this past Saturday night, and I'm glad. It was definitely a microcosm.

I would definitely like to meet for drinks again. I want to hear all about the bead store. Have fun today!
Thank you!

Ferry street is scary, as is most of the town. I promise, though, if somehow you find a prospect at Ferry Street when I'm with you, I will make myself suitable scarce. :)

But really, it's Ferry Street. You'll have better luck on OKCupid. (it's nice to know that we're 22% enemies. I have to get everyone to sign up for this so I can figure out if I really should like them or not.)

I've found that since so very few people post on OKCupid's journal, it's a quick and dirty way to get the attention of the select few who actually read.

That's my OkCupid tip o the day. Of course, I didn't find anyone really interesting that way, but you never know.
If I can actually think of enough to say for two journals I'll give OKCupid's a try. Thanks for the tip.

I'm an old fashioned boy. I would never be so rude as to ignore the person I was with just because I saw someone else I was interested in. Besides, you're more interesting that anyone else I've met in this burg.

Everyone should be 22% enemies. Makes life more interesting.
Honestly, it doesn't take much for OkCupid. Just a "you know what I've noticed about okcupid" and you have your audience eating out of your hand.

Actual journal entries get much less response.

you have a way with words. your entries are so pleasant to read.