11 June 2014

Signs You Are a True Berkeleyite

As regularly readers of this blog (both of us) know I currently reside in Berkeley, California USA. My feelings on this point are at best ambiguous though there are very very few other places in this country in which I could conceive of living. I am much prouder of the fact that I grew up here in the Sixties (I went off to college and did not return to live here for several decades.) Growing up in this town when I did was an irreplaceably wonderful experience. But that -- as they say -- was then and this -- as they further say -- is now. Being an acute observer of the human condition (I do like to flatter myself) I  quite naturally fancy myself as something of an expert on the denizens of this fair city. I taught in one of its public schools for nigh on 20 years and make my way around the city a fair bit.

While my political views are ones that I share with most Berkeleyans and I am culturally in tuned with most of the populous, there are some rather significant differences in the attitudes and behaviors and habits of my fellow Bezerkers and I. That is of course perfectly fine. At least from my perspective. There is an element in Berkeley that does not care for deviation from what they consider the norm. Berkeley is a very liberal city -- nay progressive -- but not everyone is open minded. Some are baffled when you don't speak the party line.

This city is a bit of mess in many respects these days (it's downtown is an ungodly sight) but it has some very pretty neighborhoods and it is the home of the greatest public institute of higher education in the world (Go Bears!). Berkeley has a rich and proud history including its seminal place in the political upheaval that epitomized the aforementioned Sixties.

Anyway that is all preamble. I now get to my point. Some may call it stereotyping. I think of rather as bit of harmless inventive profiling. That is to say I have created what follows, a list of the signs that you are a typical citizen of Berkeley (this list applies mostly to males and many items apply especially to those between about 30 and 45 years of age.)

Signs You Are a True Berker

* You ride your bicycle as often as possible.
* Your son Noah attends a private school.
* You love to putter around in your garden.
* You make a weekly trip to the Farmer's Market.
* Two of your best friends are a lesbian couple.
* You regularly make token donations to the local PBS station.
* You've gotten into organic coffee.
* You enthusiastically voted for Obama in 2008 and begrudgingly in 2012.
* Your daughter Fiona plays youth soccer.
* You see a play at the Berkeley Rep every few months.
* You are proud not to have cable TV.
* You have a good friend who uses a wheelchair.
* You enjoy a few glasses of wine with Friday and Saturday dinners.
* You do yoga.
* You have anonymously made mean and snarky comments on Berkeleyside but are not proud of it.
* You deny -- even to yourself -- that you don't really like Black people.
* You have attended  a city council meeting to voice a concern.
* You've read Slaughterhouse Five four times.
* You're humble but nonetheless brag a little bit about what a good salad you make.
* You still talk about that great Philosophy professor you had in college.
* You kind of like sports but are not fanatical about it.
* Your wife is Brazilian or Asian or you are both Jewish.
* Your last vacation was to Central America.
* You studied in France for one semester of college.
* You are an enthusiastic recycler and composter.
* You have a cousin who's a Fox News watching conservative and he forwards you annoying political emails.
* You avoid wearing suits and ties or otherwise buying or wearing dressy clothes.
* You play the guitar, albeit badly.
* You want to go to Portugal.
* You speak enthusiastically about the time you saw the Cirque du Soleil.
* You go backpacking several times a year.
* You've never been in a fist fight.
* You're pretty sure you have strong feelings about Israel/Palestine but aren't sure what they are.
* You don't order your children about but try to reason with them and explain.
* You love Thanksgiving but have mixed feelings about Christmas.
* You were an enthusiastic film goer until you had children.
* You always spoke of your wife's pregnancy as "we" are pregnant.
* You listen to Spanish guitar music a lot.
* Your speech is always very politically correct.
* You like or at least pretend to like everyone you meet.
* You stopped having original thoughts two days after your first child was born.

No comments: