Autumn has finally descended upon the streets of Oakland, and the gutters are choked with a colorful array of dead leaves, awaiting the inevitable downpours that come just before Christmas to choke the storm drains across the city. This morning was the calm before the inevitable storm, and I enjoyed running through the neighborhoods for my morning exercise. Still, it was hard not to notice my surroundings as that of a big city. Perhaps the most profound being the shop just two doors down from the Catholic church sells ladies' fashion and is called "My Sexy Life Boutique".
I thought about the visits I have made to our friends in southern California who live in a more more secluded enclave. It's not exactly a gated community, but I found that I could take a run for several miles without running into any sort of commercial real estate. I knew where the video store was, but I wasn't going to have to run past two of them if I chose not to. Back home I don't have as many options. I'm certain to pass a few 7-11s a couple of grocery stores, and countless apartment buildings. Down south I saw only single family homes, and my iPod ironically chimed in with Rush's "Subdivisions".
Last week, I had a chat with my friend with whom I grew up on the "mean streets" of Boulder, Colorado. She is now happily ensconced as a mover and shaker in her son's school. She's not the queen of the PTA, but she knows her. She was rolling her eyes at the insistence on brand names, specifically that of Sharpie markers of various colors, each denoting a specific grade level or activity. I told her that at my school, we confiscate Sharpie markers. I told her that the kids at our school use the permanent markers to leave their gang affiliations or thoughts about current faculty members on walls, stairways, desks and chairs. Even the little kids. Pencil is just so much easier to wash off.
It was only after I hung up that I realized that we could be raising money for my school by selling our confiscated Sharpies to the suburban moms who need to keep track of their kids at their annual Jog-A-Thons. It's a win-win situation, especially if they get to jog past My Sexy Life Boutique.