This little park we go to is really charming, Colby Park, at the center of a hidden cul de sac in Oakland, with a little playground and lots of grass and benches and very little else. Surrounded by modest bungalows, it's the perfect setting for sitting in the sun, more inviting than the gated communities up in the hills and less distracting than the hectic population over at Mosswood.
About half way through our sit in, an opportunity for eavesdropping presented itself and though our eyes stayed fixed on the books in our laps, our ears pricked up and caught some things that were mellow-harshing to say the least. A realtor, showing one of those aforementioned bungalows (turned out they were less modest than they first seemed, weighing in at 600k) was telling a prospective buyer that his 375k price range wouldn't get him what he wanted.
You can see the house in question over my shoulder in this picture, it was an adorable shade of green and white but certainly no bachelor pad.They went back and forth for a little while like this. The realtor talking about some other properties in other tree-lined quiet neighborhoods near coffee shops to his 30-something buyer, who responded by explaining that he wasn't starting a family and didn't need something quite so quiet. After a few more exchanges, the buyer suggests looking in West Oakland, where he's heard its more affordable. And then the realtor pretty much loses it. "You don't want to be in West Oakland in the long term, it's no investment. Look, I've been chased out of some parts of West Oakland before. You're not going to want to stay there 15 years from now." Ultimately the buyer convinced him to show a place on 25th street (the horror!...8 blocks from our house) after much consternation on the realtor's part. And here they are peeling away in their fancy cars:
There are so many levels happening with this conversation, from the upselling, to the 'bro to bro' tone to the repetition of "You know what I mean?" but the real show stopper was that last bit about getting chased out of West Oakland. I've always found it to be remarkable how people who feel uncomfortable in a place seem to blame the people who live in the place for making them feel that way. They never consider that perhaps, they project their discomfort in the way of racial stereotyping and that the people living there have every right to defend their space against such visitors of a particular attitude. I'm pretty sure that I would chase that creep out of my neighborhood too if given the chance, especially if he called the place I call home a terrible investment. On that note we packed up and headed home.
And then since our picnicking was only halfhearted, scones and strawberries and tea, we made a big salad for lunch with a fried egg on top for each of us.
And then I ate some jelly beans.
Unemployment could be worse...