Thursday, July 07, 2011

Yesterday I got back from work around five thirty. Sat on the couch, took my shoes off, unbuttoned my work shirt and hung it up in the closet. Meanwhile the cats bumped their heads into my hands, walked across my lap, and we all went into the kitchen where I opened a can of food. I then switched into shorts and changed my t-shirt, put on tennis shoes and got my bike out of the closet and rode out to Sunset View Park, the south-western most corner of Oakland, down South Harbor Road past the car junkery, the train yard, and the many shipping operations punctuated by 24 story high great white cranes. A long, wide road with a slight incline and nobody on it.

I locked my bike to a pole and inspected the crane closest the park, watched the boat from Norfolk and the people on it for a while. I read a placard: the crane was built in Shanghai and it's controls were made in Sweden. One of the workers waved at me and I waved back. I walked to the end of the jetty, past the couple hanging out in the tower, pissed behind a bush, took a picture of some grafitti on a trash can and walked back to where my bike was parked. By then the crane had started to unload the cargo from the boat, and I sat down and watched them work.

Oakland dockworkers. It made me think of season 2 of The Wire, of the big military ships I've been reading about, the loud noises and steel and of teaching in comparison, what a different job unloading boats is. It looked fun, satisfying and probably paid well. I smoked a cigarette. Listened and watched and amazed at how accurate the crane operator was, moving rectangles around with such precision. I wondered if a good crane operator is slightly OCD, or develops a little bit of a natural OCD, trying to line things up just right. Drawing cubes in the margins of note pads. After a while I got back on the bike and rode home. Made a couple phone calls, made dinner, took a shower and got into bed. Read for an hour and went to sleep. Wednesday.