People watching at Jack London Square
on November 28, 2016
The gentle breeze carrying a cool mist from Oakland’s Inner Harbor, hits the faces of people scattered around the docks of Jack London Square. The area is without much activity and the water is calm.
The sky is filled with clouds, but the wind is quickly shuffling them away, revealing the warm rays of the sun. The few people sitting on benches are either keeping up with the latest news or making tough life decisions.
“Do you want to get breakfast?” a man asks.
“I don’t know,” a woman answers.
The loud and continuous “coooo coooo” of pigeons overpowers the dull roar of conversations as the birds bob their heads, on the hunt for a morsel. The brown fall leaves crunch under their tiny yellow feet as they quickly swarm anyone trying to enjoy their meal.
As the morning wears on, more and more Oakland residents trickle into Jack London Square. Some wear heavy jackets with sweatpants and a scarf, while others chose sleeveless shirts and Jordan basketball shorts. Warriors, Raiders and A’s apparel is abundant. The majority of newcomers are glued to their phones, iPods, iPads, or computers, completely cut off from the world. Only the brash “hoooooonk” of an Amtrak train, passing by, pulls everyone back to reality.
The few that abstain from technology take in their surroundings and interact with the environment. Children laugh as they chase pigeons (now the hunted) around the dock and square. A man sleeps on the rich green grass, which is a slightly lighter green than his Oakland A’s hat. Another watches boats as they slowly glide into port, swaying back and forth in the greenish water of the harbor.
Terriers, Golden Retrievers, Chihuahuas, German Shepherds, and many other dogs move quickly through the square, tongue outs and panting, as they trot alongside their best friends. Every now and then, collars jingle and leashes tighten as owners try to stop their canines from chasing pigeons or other dogs.
When noon hits, like clockwork, people begin to flock to the Steel Rail cafe, the Lungomare restaurant or Scott’s Seafood Grill and Bar for lunch. Some continue their walk. Others take a seat and marvel at the beauty of the square and the harbor.
Once again the square is quiet, only the “coo” of pigeons is heard. Boats drift by on the glistening water; all is calm.
Just another day in paradise.
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