Archive for category Random

Taking a safe walk to the bus stop

Last week, BART was a mess, so I decided to walk the few blocks from home and catch the AC Transit transbay bus. I’ve taken this bus only when BART is not an option. It’s nearly door-to-door, but because I cannot read on the bus, it’s almost a waste of my time. Almost.

Anyway, for my two-ish block walk to the bus, I take a short cut down through a cul-de-sac and over a broken sidewalk, and up MacArthur Blvd., which is a main thoroughfare through all the questionable parts of Oakland. On this walk, it’s not unusual for me to step over or around: litter, used condoms, condom packets, pieces of hair extensions, balls of discarded real hair, broken bottles, empty liquor bottles, cigarette butts, more trash, pocket sized ads for palm readers and upcoming music shows, and you get the picture.

Only on this day, the trash was different. Anyone lose their safe? I don’t think it locks anymore.

Simmons Street Safe

Simmons Street Safe


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Alone in a locker room of wannabe Oakland Raiderettes

Well, not completely alone. Imagine my surprise, as I – post work-out, dressed in boy muscle shirt, boy shorts, wearing weight gloves and my iPod – rounded the corner into my section of gym lockers, and literally walked into a gaggle of twenty 20-something wannabe Oakland Raiderettes Cheerleaders. Yes, today was the second Sunday of Raiderettes try-outs at my gym. And I was there. Again.

I’ve never had to walk over and around so many nylons, contestant numbers, and stiletto heels especially in a narrow section of gym locker room. These woman, dare I say contestants/interviewees/candidates had gobs of accessories. Who knew there were so many shades of “who knew it came in that color” pink? Sparkles and sequins, short shorts, zippers, white belts, either purchased online, at the store, or hand-crafted by their mother-in-laws. Fake eyelashes that could double as umbrellas. And spray-on tans. No one came without. And velour sweat outfits. All true, folks.

This scene made me uncomfortable. Why? Was it because I have never seen so much spontaneous arranging and rearranging of parts, real or assisted? Weren’t they of the same sex and because of my chromosomes, a sight I should be enjoying?  Uh, no. Raiderettes and pre-Raiderettes are a different species than I. Consider a Sporty Spice action figure and a plush Hello Kitty doll. You can put them together on the same carpet in a family room, but you would never see them run off together and start a family even in fantasy land. Now, that would be weird.

Anyway, I high-tailed it to the showers, gym bag in hand and ran into an older woman wrapped in a towel who looked at me with a sour look on her face and asked, “What is happening here? I thought they weren’t allowed in here.” Well, last week they weren’t allowed. This week, apparently, with the “fierce” competition and all, these women needed to be ready for pictures and cheering, so they needed our locker room.

A lot of these women were mothers, one wishing out loud that her two-year old daughter was old enough to be a junior Raiderette. I guess they could practice together. Think of a cross of something Diablo Cody would create and Little Miss Sunshine and you’re starting to see what I saw.

As I was leaving, as quickly as I could, one Raiderette hopeful went up to another and said that she looked great. You could have heard a pin drop. All at once, these curling- and flat-ironed heads of hair, bottle blondes and reds, hushed and turned toward the one who got the compliment. Fierce indeed.


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