When I created my blogger profile I described myself as an "urban girl". I have to laugh. Perhaps any true city mouse would. As it turns out Denver, even downtown Denver experiences do not seem that relevant to true big-city living. Now perhaps Oakland/Berkeley does not compare with NYC, but it sure does make Denver seem a little small potatoes. I am continually surprised by my urban encounters here.
Case in point-it is a Saturday morning, I am just going to run to Target for a few essentials and the grocery store for some dinner-I'll be back in an hour.... or three. You see, the Target parking lot presented a few hurdles. Those challenges included way to many cars for the relativly small parking lot and a glutany of aggressive, crabby drivers. I drove around, and around and around again. After about twenty minutes I found a spot that took me about a dozen maneuvers to squeeze into. Once inside the store, I had to negotiate my cart and Zachary through a sea of anxious shoppers. Berkeley sports the first two story/elevator equipped Target I have ever visited. It doesn't seem to have any better products or bargains than my quiet Denver equivalent, where I could zip in and out without any hassle in a matter of minutes.
Next on to the Berkeley Bowl. Now I do have to say there is no such a culinary phenomena in any place I have lived thus far. In past postings I have already proclaimed the glory of their produce selection, but there is more to the Bowl.... yes an amazing selection of overpriced cheese, tasty gourmet prepared foods, and freshly baked breads and pastries. Total ecstasy for anyone who enjoys eating. The place is PACKED. I have Zack in the grocery cart and I seem to be playing bumper carts with every other shopper in the building. I get reprimanded by another shopper when Zack reaches into the free sample cheese bowl with his bare hands-"there are toothpicks" he hissed. Yes, yes, I realize there is a swine flu epidemic in this country, but he is four, and you should never, ever eat those samples if you are a germa-phobe anyway! At the checkout counter the cashier only half jokes that if I want to continue shopping at "The Bowl", I should remember to have my organic produce weighed at one of the "weigh stations" before cashing out. "Huh?" I ask. I guess I missed that. I inform him that I am new to Berkeley. "Huh." he responds. "Well just remember for next time, we don't like it when people forget." Alrighty then. So yes, the cashier was a wee bit gruff and rude, and the place was a bit of a nightmare, but I will continue to deposit my husband's paycheck there all the same-it is just too amazing to pass up.
So that whole Saturday outing which I expected to take about an hour was much more lengthy and complicated than I had anticipated. I have come to realize that now that I am living in a much larger urban area, everything takes longer and requires more planning. There is more hassle, and people run faster. No, it isn't New York, but I see now that a city of that caliber would simply eat me alive.