Friday, July 30, 2010
Trip to the northland.
I certainly panhandled when I was a broke young man in New York City and I believe in helping people in need. But the nature of the beast has changed. This guy was one of the new breed of professional beggars that are sprouting up all over. I met a guy at a corner in National City with such a sign, a native american. I gave him a few bucks and asked him about his life and his exit strategy. He laughed, this was his job. Many of these people make it a career and can make a pretty good haul, giving everybody the sad eye day after day.
These new destitute beggars have little pride and a permanent gig. Most look pretty well fed. It seems like a less than ideal place to park my hard earned money. Like throwing it down a hole guaranteed never to benefit anyone but the person who dug the hole. I drove past this man, barely making eye contact. In front of him was a cowboy hitchhiking with a saddle. He I would have given a ride to. As I repared to stop I was beaten to the punch by a trucker.
The next morning I drove up to the lovely town of Woodside, a Brigadoon type of town nestled in the verdant hills of the South Bay. I had to pick up a painting from a client that I should have grabbed ages ago. My client is a most intelligent Doctor who teaches Bio Ethics at Stanford. Has a passion for 19th century California paintings. We got into a very interesting conversation on the dangers of embryo farming and a lot of other perilous pitfalls of the new technology, technology whose pace is moving far faster than the attenuated underlying moral questions can be sorted. Cloning, stem cells, he shocked me by having a rather stark pro life stance. But I defer to him because he is trying to grapple with some very difficult ethical questions. He said something quite thought provoking and I paraphrase; The world is sadly missing a real or imagined hell, it caused people to understand that their actions have moral consequences. If I lived closer I would think we would develop a strong friendship.
Chai Thai Noodle in East Oakland for a great dinner.
The meal started with toasted rice salad, rice that has been recooked and crunchified with mint and basil, lime and lettuce. Simply fabulous. We went on to sample a delicious pumpkin and chicken curry and a quail course that honestly paled next to the quail at Le Cheval but I kept my mouth shut. Dry and not nearly as juicy. We had a nice duck dish covered with a strangely gummy rice coating and a rather stringy pork dish. A nice meal, well prepared.
After dinner we headed back to Berkeley for ice cream. We stopped and waited in a long line at Ici on College. Some great flavors and lots of tastes obligingly handed out - I tried the Brown Sugar Gingersnap but settled on a boysenberry vanilla ice cream sandwich. Very high quality ice cream but rather expensive.
For breakfast Melissa broke out Black Currant jam that she absconded with from Scotland on good Acme bread. I took off to drive to Fresno to see my father. Past Altamont and the army of wind machines. Rows and rows of tree crops and a sea of grapes. The normal road was blocked so my GPS took me on a strange alternate and I finally rolled in.
I listen to two great baseball games on the way down - Padres beat the hated Dodgers and the Giants, who are nipping at our heels with a hot streak, lose to the Marlins. Salazar hits a game winning walk off single for the Pads.
I am now back - tonight was a great Taste of Fallbrook block party. Leslie had belly dancers. Aunt Kizzy's Boyz, the great local blues band fronted by Sugar Ray, was in rare form. Just a lot of great folks on the street. I have a lot to do tomorrow as I get ready to leave for New Mexico next week.