I appreciate reporters. I still can’t believe I am one. I never feel more like one on days like today. Everyone is watching things happen and trying to make sense of things.
Some of us are cracking jokes. Some are waving notebooks around and apologizing for brushing politicians in passing. Some of us are trying to walk the line between observation and commentary. Some of us are just trying not to open their mouths until they know the shot.
Can I be trusted? Almost always. I don’t have much room to get it wrong about a dead body or a crashed car or a fire. Independently observable and occasionally natural phenomena offer their own proof. More often than not, it’s easy enough to get out of the way of people intent on arguing with reality.
The bike share station that got installed a couple of blocks away from my apartment this week is not for me.
I have a bike. I have a car too. I use the bike mostly for exercise. The car is for driving to work and back and to run errands. Most of the time it’s parked in the space below my apartment. When I work, I park it in the next block or two over since the bike share station that arrived two weeks ago took out the parking outside the newsroom.
None of this should be skin off my nose, given that the newsroom is moving a mile or so away next month from our ground-floor former bank across the street from a Sears-turned-Uber-rehab site to a third-floor building suite with a lakeside view and even scarcer streetside parking (and a bike share station steps away).
As it turns out, I can walk to the new newsroom. I’ll still have to drive there in case I’m asked to go out to cover some stories in person. But it feels weird, and I feel weird about it feeling weird. It’s just more change, steady, inexorable and most likely uncomfortable.
The bikes are here. I didn’t choose them. They spook me because they’re not meant for me, not even if the mini-billboard next to them features a more handsome and helmet-less demographic doppelgänger. Maybe there’s a market, and the people who can actually afford the newer apartment rents or latest mortgage payments will take to them. It’s not like I have a lawn I can tell it to get off, right?
Who thinks about how a post-carbon future might look until it lands on the edge of their block and says there’s an app for that?
We could’ve gone and visited the city of a thousand planets, but I don’t think either of us has gotten over paying good money a couple of years ago to see “Lucy.” Plus, my schedule change earlier this year made a matinee easier for both of us, and we figured we’d support the Grand Lake Theater. So we went and were amused by the cousins on-screen and annoyed by our brothers off-screen who talked through trailers and couldn’t keep pace with the plot’s advances.
Fortunately, there weren’t any bad actors in front of us. Andy Serkis will pull down awards somewhere if there’s any justice, and so may Woody Harrellson. But the ones sitting a few rows behind us could’ve used a strong dose of the simian flu, or whatever variant of disease wound up playing a pivotal role in this version of the film. Burroughs said that language is a virus. He wasn’t wrong about that.
I sent out a couple of e-mails before learning about an additional Crap Thing that happened overnight. Then I went out for a 19-mile bike ride up to El Cerrito and back. Rounding Lake Merritt on my way back, I ran into Ash’s RV. If the weather is good on a holiday weekend, he’s had good fortune drawing a small, friendly crowd of passers-by and regulars for potluck snacks and cans and full-throated karaoke in a setting as different from dive-bar confines as can be expected.
Before Ash’s song and post-song pound, I saw another karaoke jockey, Glenn, use a small stuffed cat to meow Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now.” If I’m going back into a certain routine after a bunch of Crap Things happened while I was away, there are far worse images and memories from which to draw a little bit of succor and suck-it-up-buttercup motivation.