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December 4, 2016 / betweenstops

Oakland Artist loft fire kills 9, or is it 40?

I’m the type who might build a staircase out of discarded wood palettes. After all, when I want to change the color of my eyeglasses, I paint the frames. With nail polish. Looks great; can’t even tell. I know because people say “I like your glasses” and I say “Thanks”.
I can’t buy eyeglasses in a store for $500 to $800. At Kaiser they consider my glasses a luxury (dispite the fact that I can’t read or drive without them). I think hard before I pay out of pocket for the eye exam, much less the glasses. So, I understand an artist loft in a bad neighborhood and a house full of what not that burns easily.

Truth is, in the Bay Area (home of all things tech)  housing has moved from a right to a privilege; soon to be a luxury. There are some nice tents under the freeways. I even understand the appeal. The freedom. Still, it’s not a way to live.

Nowadays when I see a picture of Obama, I get teary eyed. He’s an intelligent, graceful man. A cool guy even. There was such hope! And now all my people are stunned and afraid of apocalyptic things with a madman at the helm.

These days I feel I could I could burst into tears over any number of situations in my country and in the world at large. But I don’t cry, I sing instead. I sing because neuroscience has shown: a person can not sing and be negative at the same time. The Ah, O and E sounds work best. So I sing because I choose happiness because with that I may be able to do something. 

This morning I went into my copy shop to make the gouache painting I did last night into a holiday card. This shop is close to my house and small. It is owned by an Arab man. He and his son work there. As I am waiting for him to finish my job I look around the shop. Usually I look at the artwork hung on the walls as it changes monthly because the shop is across the street from an art school. Today I am further back in the shop. I am looking at the posters on the walls. They are from “Amnesty International” and “Greenpeace” and “Doctors without Borders”. I say “Hey, we donate to the same places!” and he says back, “They need us now more than ever, right?” And I say “right.”

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