There is a song from Oklahoma!:
Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day!
I’ve got a wonderful feeling
Everything’s going my way.
I’m roaming the streets of Berkeley at 5:50 AM. I pass by a stopped pick-up truck. It’s a two-way street, but it’s parked on the left side. As I pass by, it pulls forward. It stops again some fifty feet ahead of me. I see the driver get out with a stack of newspapers. She fills the machine with the San Oakland Tribune Chronicle or some similar paper.
I walk over the tunnel on Sutter, past the Circle, and down the steps. Sutter is now Henry. Henry becomes Shattuck, and Safeway is open. I walk inside, roam the aisles, and call my sister’s cell. No answer. I call her apartment. No answer. The Bee must be napping. Sure enough, I get a text:
[The Bee] just fell asleep on me with great difficulty. What’s up?
I’m outside Safeway when she calls. We talk for a bit, and I remember she’s been my best friend since those days when we played Molly and Polly, the leg game, Ooncheechee, and Lego’s. Some of those memories date back over twenty years. She’s the voice of calm and reason this morning.
I hang up the phone and head into Berkeley Espresso. I need some coffee. As I leave to cross the street, I decide to jay-walk. A fellow patron of BE follows me. I get to the divider and stop. Should I jay-walk when the 7 is headed towards us?
The bus passes, and I look back at the other patron and smile. She says, “I was waiting to see if you were going to cross.” We laugh and exchange a few more words before she recognizes a friend. We go our separate ways.
I think back to my first months in America when I didn’t know much English. This is how I heard the closing theme to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood:
It’s such a good feeling
To know you’re alive.
It’s such a happy feeling;
You’re growing inside,
And when you wake up,
You’re ready to say,
“I think I’ll make a snappy, new day!”
It’s such a good feeling,
A very good feeling,
The feeling you know
That I’ll be back
When the day is new,
And I’ll have more ideas for you,
And you’ll have things you’ll want to chocobar.
I will, too.
It was only years later that I learned the following identity:
chocobar := talk about