20.2.06

hometown


no old pix today, aren't you glad? so, i'm in the middle of relocating. i'm moving to oakland, where my family lived when i was a kid. the apartment, next to lake merritt (pictured above) is actually about a fifteen minute walk from the old house. thinking about it has me kinda weirded out. as long as i've lived in (and as much as i love) san francisco, i almost feel as if i'm returning home. there are so many memories here. nowadays, the area is much, much nicer than it used to be. that doesn't mean i'm some gritty kid from the mean streets of oakland. it's just a lot more upscale than it used to be.

the cool thing is that i'll be close to public transport and freeway access is nearby. getting around won't be a problem. another cool thing is that i'll be living by myself. in a word, heaven. san francisco is one of the most expensive cities in the USA in which to live, and i've almost always had housemates in the past. there was one stint in the mid 90s when i lived alone for about four years, right before the dot com explosion. then the rents just got outta control. it's kinda settled in the past few years, but rent is still relatively high.

in any case, the song bouncing around in my head lately is joe jackson's "hometown". it's from the "big world" album, which was released in 1986. the interesting thing about this album is that it's a live recording but it doesn't sound like one. jackson asked the audience to not make a sound until the songs were completely over. "hometown" has one of my favorite opening lines, "of all the stupid things i could have thought, this was the worst".

listen: hometown

the joe jackson archive
city of oakland website

5 comments:

Stef said...

Public transport in California? Well I never...

A friend of mine from Hong Kong moved to SF lately and he can't wait to move back! He finds it expensive, impossible to get around -even with a car!- and over-rated.

Maybe I should suggest he moves to Oakland! What goes on there by the way? Is it a suburb of SF?

Sharon said...

Good luck with the move! It's so cool that you're living on your own. I imagine that suits you well. :)

xx

robot_hero said...

stef -- oakland is its own city. it's across the bay from san francisco. it's pretty nice there, although it has rough areas like any other city. oakland is sorta regarded as SF's ugly kid sister, in the way that new jersey is compared to new york.

your friend is right, it's extremely expensive to live here. as for driving, well...i have no problems, but i've lived here nearly my whole life. it can be quite confusing to a first-timer or a tourist. your friend should talk to my friend jennifer. she lives in chicago and she's never lived here, but she knows this place better than a lot of people i know here.

i guess you just have to want to know the place. resistance just makes the adjustment more difficult.

jennifer said...

Hey Stefan - Oakland's another proper city and it's just across the bay from San Francisco. When you take the BART (a train that goes under the bay) from San Fran, you first hit Oakland, and then you head a tiny bit north to Berkeley. They're all within minutes of each other. :)

Still - San Francisco's the best city of all three. ;o)

Stef said...

Ah right, get it.

Mind you, doesn't common terminology in the US use 'suburb' to label a satellite town/city that provides affordable housing for people working in the big city?

Here in the UK a suburb is just a residential area within the city itself but I've heard Bellevue, WA (where my in-laws live) described as a suburb of Seattle and that's across Lake Washington...