The Hippest thing that ever happened to me in Oakland

Everybody knows, there are no real hipsters left in San Francisco anymore. Only fake-ass hipsters.  The people who still listen to vinyl, collect manual typewriters, or have an autographed copy of The Boomer Bible, are all living in Oakland now. Why would we want to spend all our money on rent, when we could live more cheaply, and still have some change leftover for a jolt cola and a thrift store prom dress ?  Priorities, people.

Anyway. I live in the butt-crack between Temescal and Rockridge, in Oakland. Temescal is where all punk rockers and hipsters go to breed. Rockridge is where all the yuppies go to breed. This means, hella kids everywhere. And on Sunday mornings, they all converge at the Temescal farmers market, in the DMV parking lot.

Though I try my hardest to avoid children whenever possible because they freak me out, I can’t help but love  our small and mighty farmers market. The produce! The music!  The samples…

So, there I am, strolling along the farmers market promenade one recent Sunday morning, sipping on my locally-sourced  $7.00 wheatgrass almond smoothie water. Then, out of the blue, I  become enchanted by a bunch of rainbow chard, and some small purple carrots.  I don’t  know what I’d cook with them, but I know they must be mine! MUST HAVE THE PRETTY.

“Excuse me guys” I say to my friends. “Those vegetables are calling to me. I must fetch them now.”

I stand in line with my spoils, waiting to pay.  Then, I’m beckoned by the goth farmers market hipster cashier, to come forth and make my purchase.

“Chard, carrots…that’ll be a fouresy.” She says.

“A…fouresy? “

“Fouresy,” she repeated, winking at me.

(C’mon Arlene, think!)  With a wheeze and a cough, the gears  of my brain begin to slowly turn…..fouresy. Foursey. FOUR-ESY. FOUR…Oh, damn.  SHE MUST MEAN…..FOUR DOLLARS!

“Ah yes, a fouresy!” I say, chuckling.  “Of course.”

I dig into my wallet, and pull out a five dollar bill.

The goth hipster now has her hands out in front of her. One palm is turned up, one is turned down. (I notice she’s got some fabulous LEOPARD PRINT acrylic nails)…. Sensing that this (like many of my interactions with strangers)  has now turned into a comedy improv skit,  I place the five dollar bill on her upturned palm. She then puts  it in in the drawer, and places a 1 dollar bill on her down-turned palm.

I pluck  the 1 dollar bill from her palm, and wink back at her. (I’m cool! I get what a fouresy means!)

Then, as I start to walk away, she says “Psst. Hey.  Wanna see something?”

I nod my head.

Then, she takes out the five dollar bill I gave her, and points a leopard-print index finger at Abe Lincoln’s eye.

“See this?”

“Yeah,” I say.

Eye of the fiver,” she says.

I beam. ‘DUDE. FUCK YEAH IT IS!” I shout, seemingly  unable to respond in any way other than all-caps bro-down speak.

At once, I see  this is the wrong response. The goth hipsters face suddenly changes —from flirty, to…. concerned?     I turn around, and watch as the other customers in line clutch their tomatoes and fennel a tiny bit closer to their chests, giving me the same “do we need to call a hospital?” look.

Sometimes, I wonder if strangers assume I’m a  tweaker.  After all, I’m white,  with crooked teeth and a birthmark on my upper lip that looks like herpes OR A METH SORE. Additionally, I have a tendency, when flustered or excited, to get blotchy all over my face. Lastly,  seem to have but two distinct modes when out in public: withdrawn/observant, or REALLY SPASTIC.
“I—I’m okay!” I shout to the rest of the line.   (AS IF THIS IS REASSURING.)   “I’m okay. Just buying some vegetables!”  (“Definitely not on meth!”)

And then I run away.




About ArleneShirlee

Hello. I live in Oakland. I write, I rap, I play drums, and I do some neat party tricks.
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