Man about town

July 20th, 2004 § Two comments

My housemate Elanor and I biked to Emeryville yesterday on the Bay Trail. Somehow, in more than a year of bicycling, I’d managed to avoid the trail almost entirely. That’s a shame, because it really is spectacular. (It would be even better if I-80 didn’t run next to it, but never mind that.) We saw panoramic views of the bay, got blown around a bit by salty winds, and passed groups of men fishing from rocky shores and spits. Then we went to Ikea and made obeisance to the great gods of particleboard and birch veneer.

Later that evening, I went to the Albatross with both of my housemates, plus my housemate Suzanne’s boyfriend. That bar grows on me more every time I go–it’s hard to quibble with a place that has a relaxed atmosphere, a wide range of unusual beers, games for its customers to play, and all-you-can-eat popcorn for just twenty-five cents. I had my first sidecar ever, taking advantage of the Albatross’ policy of not using junky liquor for mixed drinks. Elanor introduced me to the glories of Berliner Kindl Weisse with raspberry cassis. She also helped me realize that playing Connect Four defensively is usually the best strategy.

After stopping for gelato at Gelateria Naia, we dropped Elanor off at home and moved on to Schmidt’s Tobacco Trading Co. and Pub on Solano Avenue. Schmidt’s is in an old house, and the seating area is essentially a big living room, with a bar and tobacco sales counter where the kitchen might once have been. It’s exceptionally quiet and well-lit–the tables have individual lamps. There’s also an assortment of large, cushy, beat-up armchairs encircling low-slung coffee tables. I’ve been looking for a place where one can both do some serious studying and have a decent pint, and I think I may have found it.

Today has been less exciting but still perfectly good. I dropped my bike off at the shop so that what little was left of my brake pads could be replaced. To get home, I took Channing, my usual bicycle route; on foot, the trip feels weirdly elongated. I had more time than usual to admire the pruning of Berkeley High’s plane trees. Their branches point more or less upwards, then curve out gracefully at the tips, like a fountain of water turned into wood and leaves.

Okay, time to get some work done. (Research work, that is. I am still trying to pretend that I don’t have to pack up my stuff in order to move.)

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