When I reluctantly moved to Oakland, there were two things I was holding on to as proof that everything was ok and that moving to Oakland was actually awesome: my garden, and my new bike. They were two things I couldn’t have in SF, and I didn’t realize how tightly I was holding onto those things until they both tragically failed.
My neighbor has a tree that blocks the path of the winter sun for too many hours in each day, so my beet and spinach seeds never grew beyond their little baby sprouts. I cried a lot about it. Stupid garden. You were supposed to make everything ok!
Then the bike. I was excited to finally NOT drive to my job in the Haight in SF. So on the third day of owning my new bike I rode it to West Oakland Bart, locked it up and commuted to work. I felt great! I was commuting to SF without a car! I was doing the Oakland thing! But the Oakland thing also involves locking up not just your bike but all the individual, removable parts of your bike. When I arrived back to West Oakland Bart after work that night, my bike’s limbs were all gone and its sad little torso was hanging on it’s lock, defeated. I stood there, staring at my dismembered bike and in my head I was screaming FUCK YOU OAKLAND but knew I couldn’t say that out loud because who’s the idiot that didn’t lock her wheels or seat down? Me. Welcome to Oakland (or any city, really,) Christina, get with the program.
That bike episode broke me. I walked all the way home, tears running down my face, avoiding eye-contact with everyone I passed. I slumped into bed and didn’t really get out for a few days. I hated it here.
That was a few weeks ago. And somehow things have seriously turned around since. It took me a while to get out of that slump, but I did. How did I do it? I put time and energy into the things that I did have. I set up my house beautifully if I do say so myself. I put time into my relationships. I put time into my new job. I no longer feel like I’m holding on to things to make Oakland better. It just got better with time. I’ve taken walks around Lake Merritt. I’ve ventured to new restaurants. I’ve met up for impromptu brunches with all my friends at the cafe on our block. I’ve adjusted. And it feels much, much better. Sure, I can’t have a garden until the sun is back in it’s summer path. Sure, I have to put some money into repairing my bike. But I’ve got my people around me, a roof over my head that has a darling interior, and I’m saving money just like I planned. Things have been rocky, but that’s life.