Today’s bike ride took me up to a new area of my hometown. The destination was the North Oakland Pharmacy, a community pharmacy.
As readers might recall, I was out in gold rush country last weekend. On Wednesday morning, I noticed a suspicious “bulls eye rash” on my left leg. Needless to say, I wanted to get it checked out as soon as possible. Unfortunately, being underemployed, we don’t enjoy subsidized health insurance. Thankfully, there are services in the East Bay that serve the many financially challenged people in the city.
You may have heard Oakland being mentioned lately in a different context – the verdict for the BART Police shooting of Oscar Grant was handed down yesterday. If you were here, this caused quite a stir. Last night I was sitting in the waiting room of the Save A Life Wellness Center, hoping that the rash on my leg wasn’t Lyme Disease. The city advised businesses to close, and many did. When I called the Wellness Center to find out if they would be open, their simple response was “We serve the people sir, we don’t close.” They did have a TV tuned to the live coverage of the court building area, which showed typical newsroom sensationalism, overblowing the scene. Do I agree with the verdict of involuntary manslaugher? I lean towards not. I personally couldn’t see not knowing the difference between a taser and a pistol. However, the key phrase is always “beyond a reasonable doubt“, and presumably there was.
Oakland gets a bad rap a lot of the time, and things like this tend to reaffirm that. However, having lived here for over a year, I can say that I love Oakland. It’s unimaginably diverse, in culture and geography. It has great food, beautiful parks, and is convenient to San Francisco and tends to cost less. The city government frustrates me often. But there are times when I have been proud, such as Oakland being a leader in decriminalizing pot by passing a landmark marijuana tax, or having services that will see me, for free, to diagnose Lyme Disease (or not) and prescribe, and fill, an antibiotic for the cellulitis that I do seem to have.