August 11, 2011
I woke up this morning with the strong urge to flee. A few hours later I was in the small coastal town of Cotati, CA watching cows graze in peoples’ backyards while admiring bodacious redwoods that grew in a perfect row along the center divider of a main thoroughfare. The air was clean, the atmosphere was chill, and the town was welcoming. No one there knew that I was running from something, and if they figured it out they weren’t bold enough to ask—which was perfectly fine by me.
My hometown of Oakland and I have an extremely ambivalent relationship. While I love the town (as we natives affectionately call it) for inspiring me to be a great person, forcing me to persevere through some very hardcore circumstances, and teaching me to be proud of my cultural heritage, sometimes I hate it for being so ugly. It really worries my nerves when Oakland puts all of its weight on me and makes me feel trapped. As much I have tried over the years I haven’t yet forgiven the town for taking the lives of so many young people who could have turned it around if they had a fair chance. Oakland is merciless.
It’s definitely not a place for the weak. One must be very strong to make it out of the town in one piece and absolutely no one makes it out unscathed. For these reasons I reserve a great deal of respect for my city. Oakland gave me heart and I will never forget that but every now and then I need to get off of this plantation. This time it was Cotati, maybe next time it will be Madrid.
Yeah Madrid sounds nice.