The Bridge and Tunnel…
So I was driving through downtown Oakland, from Chinatown to Berkeley, when I came across a Wig Superstore. The sign said, 100% human hair! Real and synthetic! Huge variety! Huge inventory discount!
I couldn’t resist.
I parked my car. I tried feeding the meter, but, like 99% of parking meters in Oakland, it was damaged – its innards ripped out for loose change. You don’t want to leave your car unattended for long in a neighborhood like this. It’s too inner- city, if you will.
But it’s not the scariest neighborhood where I’ve purposefully parked my car. Not even close.
I used to go to this place for fried chicken along 3rd street in San Francisco’s Bayview/Hunter’s Point district. This was before the area became gentrified with the opening of 3rd St. rail and the billion dollar UCSF campus. Sadly, now the joint is no longer there. But back then, pre-gentrification, it was just a bar with a deep fryer at the end. They deep fried oysters, and shrimps, and scallops, and calamari.
But their best offering were the wings.
You’d make your way to the back, place your order, and then order a beer at the bar while you wait. If you had the munchies and couldn’t wait for your chicken to be ready, you can order fried pork skin from the bartender. You know it is house made, because it’s served in small Ziploc bags.
I just love the homey touch, don’t you?
Some things come naturally to me. Like eating fried pork skin. With a dash of Crystal Hot Sauce. Chinese people and black people have a similar palate. We lean towards the heavy. I’ve been trying to find a place where black people serve chitlins. I’ve asked and asked, but no one will tell me.
There are some secrets black people keep to themselves.
Reuben loves fried chicken, too, but he would never come with me to this joint. Bayview/Hunters Point is way too rough, even for him. And Reuben grew up East Oakland.
I suppose it’s a bit… culture-vulture on my part. Tons of places serve fried chicken, but I love going to the “hood” for fried chicken. Personally, I think if you’re really committed to the art of fried chicken, you have to have an adventurous spirit.
Because going for fried chicken in the ghetto is a lot like doing drugs. From the moment I park, usually across the street in the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, my heart starts racing. Pounding. I get the shivers as I cross the street. It’s the thrill of doing something dangerous. Forbidden.
Remember the first time you scored cocaine? The thrill of meeting a drug dealer, and then cutting up your first line, all the while thinking, wow, I am sooo bad!
Well, your life is way more in danger when you choose fried chicken over cocaine. Because, seriously, any minute I could get shot. But, even as I dwelled on that thought, I was smugly self-satisfied with my obituary:
her life for fried chicken.
She lived a good life.
So, getting back to the wig story. I parked my car. I tried putting in change to a meter that won’t take it. And I go into the wig store. Wouldn’t you know it: the owners, sales people, were all Korean.
It was a buzz kill of sorts, because Asian people do the hard sell. There’s no finesse. They get straight to the point.
I tried on a wig, and the Korean lady declared, you must buy it.
It makes you look more like a woman.
Yeah, Asian people are not known for customer service. In fact, the more I thought about it, the more I was sure that this was one of the stores that got vandalized in the Oakland riots last year.
A long story short: a few years ago, a white BART officer named Johanne Mehserle shot Oscar Grant, a black man already in handcuffs, in the back. When Mehserle was acquitted of murder and voluntary manslaughter charges (he was convicted of involuntary manslaughter), people rioted in downtown Oakland.
Why is it that every time a WHITE man fucks over a BLACK man, they must go and destroy all the ASIAN small business owners in the black neighborhood?
I remember seeing a Korean wig owner being interviewed on TV after her store was vandalized:
No, they didn’t rob my store to make a statement, she said.
They broke the windows, left everything alone, and went straight to the hair extensions. They knew what they wanted.
Girlfriend went straight for the Remi Indian Virgin straight 22’’ hair extensions!
However, a black woman getting herself some free hair doesn’t bother me. Cassandra herself would have gone for the $500 jet black, wavy, lace-front wig with the virtually undetectable hairline. And you know if we were both reaching for the same wig — I’ll Cut You.
No: what really bothered me – from what I saw on TV – were the SO MANY WHITE boys who were instigating violence.
Seriously. White boys with dreadlocks. Self-proclaimed revolutionaries. Stirring up shit in Black neighborhoods, against Asians, because they have so much White anger.
There’s a phrase in Chinese: tze bao fan may sze dzuo.
When a man’s belly is too full, and he has nothing better to do…
Seriously, whitey: what makes you think YOU get to come to Oakland and tell black people to rob Asian stores. For the crimes of YOUR PEOPLE!
This isn’t the 60’s in Mobile, Alabama. You are not risking your life to register black folks to vote. You’re not contributing to the movement for equality. You’re just an ass in need of attention and self-worth.
Get. Back. On. Your. Meds.
And go the fuck back to Marin.
Talk about a culture vulture.
Why don’t you loot and burn YOUR neighborhood, asshole?