I had lunch today at a place called A.G. Ferrari's in a place called Montclair Village in Oakland, California. They call it "the village" a guy wearing a name tag that said Guire told me. He was making sandwiches at A.G. Ferrari's on this Sunday afternoon. When I walked into the store and told him I wanted a sandwich he was disappointed. Apparently, he wanted me to tell him a story. Thats how we became friends.
Guire's name is actually Matthew. He is from Iowa. He taught Russian to high schoolers after he graduated college but he moved to the bay area just shy of a year ago to pursue his musical career. He plays gypsy music in a trio. He most always plays accordian and is excited to study under one of the most prominent accordian artists in the world.
I don't think Matthew really liked Montclair Village. He lived in downtown Oakland and laughed when I asked if he lived in the village. He said the people of the village were pretentious. He said everyone knew each other and that everyone was completely self-absorbed.
While I was in the store a couple in their early thirties came in with two small boys. The couple were wearing Roots Canada hats. I'm not really sure what Roots is, but the kids who went skiing when I was in elementary school always has Roots gear. My guess it that its a ski resort in Canada. The two kids were blond and less than six years old. I didn't look close enough to see how old they were but I could tell one was older than the other by the way they treated each other. The younger one ran quickly along the hardwood floor and touched everything on the bottom shelf with his hands. His hands, of course, were not grimy because he was a clean kid from the village.
I want to live in the village. I want to have small children with clean hands and I want to buy sandwiches from A.G. Ferrari's. The florist's dog's name was Casey and Casey was running for mayor of Montclair. His competition was a pug who belonged to the tailor. Yes, they have a tailor in the village. The winner was determined by the amount of money raised for some enviromental wildlife protection organization. Being mayor was simply a title--the village does not have a mayor because they are not even a real town.
Montclair Village reminded me a lot of Glencoe and Winnetka and the towns I grew up in. These towns are suburbia but not picket-fenced streets. This suburbia is filled with skiing families with SUVs and clean hands. Is it wrong to want this? Is it a sin to want money and a comfortable life?
Its one of the few things I truly desire and have only had the opportunity to experience in glimpses. As I walked through Montclair Village I pretended a little bit that I lived there. But I also thought about how much I want to travel and how independant I am and how much thrill I find in discovering places like Montclair and Glencoe and no name coffee shops with special blends.
And I love the cities. I love San Francisco and Chicago and Seattle and tall buildings and parking structures and red lights. I love the electic mix of people and the public transportation and the sights and smells. There is so much I want to do with my life. There are so many places I want to live and so many things I want to experience.
I want to open a restuarant. Maybe two--one in the city and one in my pretentious suburbia. I want to be a reporter and tell the world. I want to be famous and published and free. And I want to in the end, raise children. I want them to have clean hands and sandwiches when they want them. The older I get the more I want children. And my fear now is not that I won't find love; my fear is that I won't get to raise children because I won't be married.