Thanksgiving morning at the Berkeley Whole Foods, I witnessed two women come together to begin the healing process following a painful and difficult encounter while trying to find a parking space.
The bagger at the grocery store said, “Hi, neighbor!” and I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me. I hesitated, and then thought, well why not? Aren’t we all neighbors in one way or another? So I looked up from the card reader and said hi, and realized she lives in the house two doors down from us.
There’s a spot near my BART station where bike messengers gather. One guy seems to be in charge. He’s older than most, and has an ex-military bearing. We once had a nice chat in line at the adjacent coffee kiosk. I imagine one day I’ll run afoul of a messenger, and just as I’m about to get clocked with a U-lock, The General will step through the haze of pot smoke and say, “Stand down, rider. This one’s okay.”
I’ll be walking down the street, thinking about what I need to do that day, and a happy dog walks into view on the end of a lead. Sometimes it’s a big man with a little dog, wearing a look that clearly indicates none of this was his idea. At those times I wish I could sit them both down and help them to some sort of reconciliation.
There are a few people I chat with at the bus stop in the morning, including one nice guy about my age who seems to have a similar sense of humor.
This morning I noticed he was standing in the spot usually claimed last minute by the Albany Line Assassin. I took the chance and asked if he had ever noticed her tactics. Not only has he noticed, but he experiments with different defensive positions himself to see how she responds.
The Alliance grows.