Sunday, February 22, 2009
Oakland, February 2009
Oakland seemed tired last night. And the whole world. Not only did the restaurant have a longer list of gaps than offerings, it offered little solace to the weary and the sick and gave no sense of communion, as bread and wine is supposed to. The space was too big, the sandwich was lukewarm and I felt more troubled as I left than I did coming in--and not just because I ceded our table to the Stanford gymnasts. It had been raining but it was not cold. But it wasn't warm either, only eerily still for a moment, allowing the larger quiet to echo off the empty buildings, and create a desperate situation. The scrounging of bills and coins to fund a short bus ride seemed a troubling analogue to the wider troubles of the world, which, never a scarce commodity, fairly overwhelmed any conscious mind that night. The quieter places in the hills, even, seemed charged with distrust and possible menace. It wasn't the dark that induced fear but the light. The dark was fearful and dreadful, surely, but more misery was expected, whatever form it came in. The lack of light held no special terror anymore: it was only more of the same. The light is what made everyone miserable. Knowing already that the world contained ill, seeing more of it just caused an ache to tremble within us, within me at least. We could have done without the light, thank you. Let what may come from the dark come--at least it contains the possibility, small perhaps, that some good will come with it. We already know what's around us. No need to flaunt it.