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And I am the Queen of Romania

Went for a nice walk this morning, and the weather was *really* warm! The street kids on Telegraph seem to be multiplying exponentially this year -- perhaps they are all flying south for the winter (from Oregon, Washington, Canada, the Arctic Ocean, whatever). Walking down Telegraph, one is subjected to a variety of smart-ass requests for money, emanating from teenagers with multiple tattoos and unwashed dreadlocks: "Spare change for drugs?" "Spare change for beer?" "Spare change for deodorant?" etc. They cluster in groups of 5 or 6 or 9 or 10 and play their guitars and block the sidewalk and ... okay, I usually try to avoid walking down Telegraph for this very reason. Damn you pesky kids, get off my lawn street!

I started reading Carlos Ruiz Zafón's novel The Shadow of the Wind today, and immediately found it fascinating and enthralling and just generally my kind of thing. How could I not love a book about books? Unfortunately, I fell asleep after one chapter, which is, of course, a common problem these days. I'm most awake in the mornings, so I plan to pick the book up again when I get up tomorrow morning.

In the evening, when Shannon got off work, we biked up to Trader Joe's on College Ave, where we ran into Katherine and Mimi! I found it rather amusing, as Katherine is the one who actually introduced me to TJ's, lo these many years ago, back when we were still living together ... almost two decades ago! I remember shopping with her at the TJ's in Emeryville (back before there were any in Berkeley/Oakland) and hiding behind cardboard display stands while she shopped for frozen food ... because I had spotted an ex of mine (things did *not* end well) in the store and didn't want him to see me.

Katherine and I just generally had a cool time when we lived together. Ah, those halcyon days of youth and singledom! But now we're both married, and she has a 4-year-old daughter, and we're getting old!

After Trader Joe's, Shannon took me out to dinner at Top Dog, and we took our chicken apple sausages out to Lower Sproul Plaza on the UCB campus, where we figured it would be relatively peaceful at that time of night, but it was chock full o' kids! On a college campus? Who'd a thunk it? Anyway, Lower Sproul was teeming with college kids practicing various choreographed hip hoppish dance moves, moving in groups to form various patterns and rhythms. It was WAY cool. I looked them up when we got home, and it turns out that they are a group called The [M]ovement, and it's been going on at UCB for a very long time. If you're interested, you can see an example of the kind of dance they do here:



As I told Shannon, watching these kids practicing dancing in the dark was far more interesting than watching tv in our living room. He said it would get boring after a while, but I don't know if that would be true for me. As I told him, if I knew when they would be practicing in the future, I would probably go up there and watch. (I believe their actual shows cost money, but the practice was cool enough for me!)

Shannon seemed somewhat disturbed (disgusted?) by the group nature of the work, commenting that it required some serious subsuming of individuality to "The Man." I had the opposite response, as I enjoy working together with groups of others to achieve something larger than ourselves. I always liked the feeling of oneness I got from step aerobics, all our feet stomping in unison, everyone sweating and having a good time moving to the music. As I pointed out to Shannon, these kids dance together and form one larger body, but then, when the dance practice is over, they separate into individuals again and go back to their lives. Those moments of unity with others don't in any way threaten the participants' independence/individuality in the larger sense. I don't see that they (or I) lose anything or sacrifice anything in order to be a part of such an endeavor. But Shannon is more protective of his individuality than I am. I like being close to other people, connecting with them, cooperating with them, being *together*. This doesn't mean I don't value my individuality ... I just don't see the two as being mutually exclusive.

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