Our Man in Oakland


Boy Pig Lock-Out:

Living On The Flames Of Fear

by David Hahn


I recently had the distinct displeasure of locking myself out of hovel and home. I suppose the consensus of your Average Joe or Joe-ette might be that this in and of itself might not be an incident worthy of any excessive anxiety or self-mutilation. However, unfortunately, I must confess to being somewhat of an exile when it comes to the Realm of Rationality, having been so for quite some time now. My name is David Hahn, and I've been a resident of the fair City of Oakland, California for the past 6 months now. Oakland is generally regarded by residents of the Bay Area, as San Francisco's uglier, more uncouth step-sister...and the multiple incidents of domestic violence, gunfire, and constant sonata of siren-song by the local gendarmes I've experienced living here, all seem to confirm this somewhat biased perspective. The city is not without it's charm, though. For instance, there's this really cool graveyard not a 15 minute walk away from my house, and an adequate assortment of taverns and bars to blot out the pain.

But I was talking about locking myself out, right? Forgive me, these tired grey cells aren't what they used to be and sometimes the old mouse at the wheel tends to take prolonged naps. I believe this was probably the crux of the problem, which caused the whole traumatic incident. Whilst attempting to forage for food the other evening, I proceeded to lock up, just as some poor twisted thing was attempting to surface above the muck’n mire into the realm of consciousness. As I closed the door, it finally managed to break through, "Hey, waitaminnnut...aren't my keys still in ("click") there?"

Of course, being burdened with a plethora of neuroses, I was instantly seized in the grips of an extra-strength jumbo sized FIT of PANIC. My first instinct was to emulate one of the many 70's cop show heroes I was raised with (back when it was cool to Love the Man) and a la Starsky and Hutch, charge at the offending door, drop-kicking its sorry ass midriff with the turbo-power of a thousand Rockettes. But at the last moment, yet another poor twisted thing came to the surface, and it suddenly dawned on me that I did in fact live there, and a splintered door would probably do nothing to improve the somewhat questionable decor of the apartment. In retrospect, being the svelte 120 pound, 5'5", colossus that I am, I would have probably only succeeded in breaking an appendage...so from this perspective, I won!

Cursing like a sailor and whimpering like a...whimpering thing, I ran from window to window, succeeding only in raising one of them a few inches. Again seized by the Madness, abandoning all hope of some reasonable method of entrance, I attempted to squeeze my head like some malleable fruit (a somewhat apt analogy, I believe) into the 4 inch window crevice. After the pain got to be close to unbearable, I decided to try my hand at being a poorer, less adept, 90's kind of Raffles, and "jimmy" the lock. With my trusty pocket knife, I managed to break off all the blades in rapid succession.

I was quickly running out of options, and was contemplating the Ultimate Solution: running around in a circle weeping and shouting "Help! Help! Help!" repeatedly. However, before resorting to this hopelessly pathetic act, and using the last vestiges of Fear Fueled Strength, I managed to wrench the offending window a few more inches, and thus crawl like a worm into relative safety.

What bothered me most about this whole incident was that during all my efforts, one of my neighbors spied me on this psychotic breaking and entering rampage, with all the tact of an elephant in heat. His reaction being to duck and turn out the lights. That's Oakland for ya, not exactly a take-a-bite-outta-crime kinda town, more like spitting it out...or up as the case may be.

I can't say I've learned much from this incident, except that I'm getting older, and also that you're only in control if you have keys. That whole cowering, whimpering in pain attitude toward life, and the basic belief that every person is an island, well, I picked up that a long time ago. Keep yer powder dry!