Rebecca, a colleague of mine is a stand-up comic. I went to see her show two weeks ago. Yesterday Colleague X asked me how I’d liked the show, since she couldn’t make it to the previous one.
“I think she has two upcoming shows, one in Berkeley and one in Lodi. Maybe I’ll go to the one in Lodi,” said Colleague X.
“Lodi? But that’s further than Berkeley!”
“I’ve only been to Berkeley twice in my life!” (Maybe this was exageration.) “I don’t like Berkeley. It’s too weird. Communist Berkeley, ha ha ha!”
“Where are you from? Where did you grow up” I asked, astonished.
“I was born and raised in Redwood City.”
I just found it incredible that someone who’s a Bay Area native wouldn’t go to Berkeley but twice in their life. I admit to a bias, but to me, Berkeley is the next destination for activties after San Francisco in the Bay Area. To me it was like she was saying “I never to go to San Francisco.” But we all go to San Francisco.
I told Joe about it and he shrugged. “Maybe to her, going to Berkeley is like going to Concord.”
“Concord? There’s nothing in Concord. How can you compare it to Berkeley?”
I think what really struck me was that here we have people who are lucky enough to grow up and live in the Bay Area, with all the diversity of activities, experiences, yet they are still in their own little isolated cocoon of comfort. They don’t venture to try anything different, to take advantage of these opportunites. They might as well live in a place that has none of these ‘perks’, like what, Nebraska, because they wouldn’t miss it? And to think that other people living elsewhere all want to move to the Bay Area, for its cosmpolitan character and amenities!
At one of my previous jobs in Oakland, I took my coworkers to Chinatown for lunch. For my manager, born and raised in Hayward, it was his first time eating dimsum . . .
Having lived in different parts within the Bay Area, I do sort of understand how people who’ve only lived in one part can find other parts rather alien. When I lived in Berkeley, visiting South Bay felt very jarring, what with all the very wide roads, strip malls and perpendicular parking. Likewise, I can understand people from the suburban areas like Fremont or Sunnyvale visiting San Francisco, Oakland or Berkeley and feeling paranoid about the homeless and the potential miscreants on the streets. But I think everyone be a more adventurous; they should expose themselves more to the other sides, open up their minds and attitudes about things, and to become more accustomed to the differences.