Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Bonkers for Berkeley, California

My Republican Chinese cousins in Hawaii won't send their kids to college here.

No way will they pay money to let them hang out in this bastion of radicalism and lefty decadence.  Never mind that one of those old guys with the free flowing long white locks and lived-in cargo shorts probably just published the superseding theory to that old, worn out one, Einstein's Relativity.  Or invented the next Hadron collider.

My cousins would never visit me here.  If I decided to retire and spend my dotage in Berkeley.

No, really, I'm almost serious.  Life looks good here.  People seem to just aimlessly putter about.  (So my style!)  The food is excellent, with Alice Waters to light the way.....their fidelity to the details is soooooooo Wonderful!   In Berkeley last week, I smelled smells and tasted tastes that I only otherwise find in France.  (No, really!)  Smells that had to do with fresh lovingly made bread (Acme) and wines with that the irresistible outdoorsy freshness of soil and air that is terroir (Kermit Lynch).  (Next door to each other on San Pablo St.)

I did not try Gregoire - I was not ready to eat yet, but maybe you should.  And tell me about it.   Their specialty is "potato puffs".  They are located just off Shattuck St. aka, Gourmet Ghetto, a little over from YOUR CHOICE of Punjabi proliferation in the vicinities of University and Telegraph Avenues.

OK, back to why I should probably grow old in Berkeley.  NEVER ANY MAKEUP or FANCY HAIRCUTS or  COLORS (to cover the gray).  Ever again!  Comfortable clothes.  Fashion accessorizing in Berkeley is generally accepted as wearing a broadbrimmed sun hat. (Everybody does it!)  Period.  And NO!  Not the girly kind in mauve or chocolate ornamented with ribbons, beads and faux flowers, but plain, straw yellow colored utilitarian kinds, for mowing your lawn or bird-watching.  Yes.  That kind please.

You can grow EVERY kind of plant here.  More so than in desertified L.A.

Have you ever seen a happier or more floriferous hellebore?

You can TOTALLY neglect home upkeep and swear off Honey-do weekends for the rest of your life and let your Home-Sweet degrade well away......your property values won't decline an inch.  Your neighbors won't notice cause they're too busy with their all-day-all-night keg parties (yes those are kegs and taps on the roofs, and I WAS young once, and I remember how that goes).

Did I mention you can grow EVERYTHING there?  It reminded me with the clapboard and cedar-shingle houses, alot of the scruffier nether neighborhoods of Newport, Rhode Island or the bookish meandering districts on Cape Cod, like Truro or Wellfleet.  And there is an easiness.........

You can fly the flag for florid Victoriana, like in that city across the Bay.  (You know which one.)

Or go moderately mid-century in cinder block.

You - no I mean "I" - could decide to live out my days in a hippie commune on sleeping bags spread across the floor reacquainting myself with the latest in Om-Mani-Padme-Oms........wearing a different tie-dyed t-shirt every day of the week.

I could take up residence in a classic California Court in the manner of the "Dude" himself, the Big Lebowski and just....y'know......"ABIDE".

And if I thought that the weather would hold all day.....I might jump in the car with some buddies....

and take off across to the Marin headlands to some oyster-y backwater.  Because life is truly a buzz when you know how to take it easy.  In Berkeley.  You might think that I'm joking and having a little fun.  

But I am totally SERIOUS!


  1. Watch out dude... there'll be a crowd of us turning up to putter about aimlessly with you ...
    Soooo cool and it all really sounds like my kind of place! Hilarious and fabulous all in one! See ya there!

  2. J'échange ma vie à Paris contre une vie à Berkeley. J'aimerai vivre dans un monde plein de fleur et de belles maisons en couleur...! merci pour cette belle balade...!

  3. I left a comment this morning from my iphone and I don't see it here so...delete it if it shows so I don't do doubles :^)

    I love Berkeley, and so glad to hear you do too. It is a very unique spot on earth that's for sure - and the politics suit me just fine Mr. Hawaiian cousin! The gardens, the garden arbors and the garden gates... the spring was an amazing mass of blooms! Cool people, creative in many ways. Come back, call me... we'll have a love-fest walking the hoods :^)

  4. There *is* something so appealing about Berkeley... and not only do plants flourish, they're GIGANTIC! Its like walking through an episode of Land of the Lost. :)

  5. What a marvelously quirky place!! :-) I'd love to retire to a funky spot like this. Hey! Maybe we'll be neighbors when we're cute old ladies. :-)

  6. Beautiful photos, and a very idyllic sounding/looking place. The plants, the plants! There's a serious amount of FLOURISHING going on!

  7. J'aime toujours quand tu nous emmènes en balade ! C'est vraiment un bel endroit...

  8. floriferous? lovely word...!

    berkeley. funny. i visited a sister of a faraway friend when i was in the us, in berkeley. i don't remember a thing about berkeley, and find a great comfort here in ravenously peering into your lovely, lovely images. they are tangible, dear.

    ah yes, abide. oh, yes, please! i could bring our sun.
    sun! not son.

  9. Hey, Berkeley is where I... abide. Glad you enjoyed.

  10. Ah voila c'etait ce post!! Ge-nial!!!