It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and I am out for a stroll, taking a walk down to the BART station. I cross the street onto the big block where the Laney campus is, and a guy sidles up next to me.
"You work for the city?" he asks.
"You teach at Laney?"
I don't know how he got it right on the second guess, but I answer yes. He then proceeds to tell me his little tale of woe.
This guy owns a business in Oakland, several miles away from where we are walking. His neighbors are a motorcycle club that throws parties. The motorcycle club leaves a mess behind when the parties are through, and it's this guy who has to clean up after them. If he doesn't, it's bad for business. Sometimes, they even burn tires in the street. It's a bad situation.
I get the feeling this guy wants me to solve this problem. Has he called the cops? The cops won't do anything. Has he considered suing the motorcycle club? The brother of one of the members is on the city council, so no remedy is apparent.
The guy is Chinese, unlike the old white guy in the picture above. "If they were black, I could understand it because they have no education." He says. "If they were Chinese, I would be ashamed of them. But they are white!" Using my razor sharp logical mind, I quickly deduce that I should be ashamed of them, though I have never met them and was unaware of their existence until a few minutes before.
When we get to the end of the Laney campus block, I turn right towards the BART station, and my new acquaintance goes straight ahead, perhaps looking for someone else to tell his troubles to. I thought a little about this encounter and came to this conclusion.
Boy, this guy should get a blog.