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Berzerkeley, B-Town, My One-and-Only Berkeley,
I never thought that I would love you as much as I do. Truth be told, your neighbor Oakland was more my style when I was younger. But ever since you became my home three years ago, the crazy little things about you have won me over.
It might be your funny smell. Maybe its your random little “weed patches”–those spots in my high school hallways or out on the streets where I’ll be walking and all of a sudden am swimming in a dense cloud with a distinctive odor that could only be one thing. This smell takes me back to freshman year. I would wrinkle up my nose and breath out in big whooshes, because I thought that by breathing in I would be second hand smoking, or something.
It might be your individual, complex, dexterous, loco, raw, amazing people. I don’t think that there’s any other place with such a diverse mindset. If California is a melting pot, you are its vat.
It might be your windy roads, your busy downtown, or your green hills.
It might be your weather, which can only be described with one word; bipolar. I can wake up in the hills, look out my window and be met with a thick, milky sea of fog that I can’t tell apart from my plushy white duvet. Downtown there will be a heavy mist in the air, making it so that the Berkeley High students either look frigid and shivering– still trying desperately to look cute– or round and tubby with too many bulky sweatshirts on. But after being cooped up in class for the morning, everyone could either emerge into bright sunshine or be met with pelting rain.
It’s probably the way you talk, Berkeley. I mean, everything’s always hella cool, right?
Learning about your history, I feel incredible pride to live in a place that was part of such a paramount movement, with shouts of the Free Speech protests ringing in my ears and the bang of beatnik bongo music keeping tempo with my thoughts. But the reality is that you are in a rut. The hippy culture you once had has turned into infectious homelessness. People’s Park— once a sanctuary the homeless of Berkeley—has become run down and neglected during the past few years. It’s depressing that someone can walk around and see people with dogs and kids who don’t have anywhere to go. You’re still the best place I know, but you need to remember who you are and how fabulous and important you were, are, and can be to the rest of the world and to your people.
Thanks for making me who I am, and take care of yourself Berkeley,