Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rainy Berkeley

Day off from the library and took BART to Berkeley to meet a friend for lunch. Off and on rain.

In the BART bathroom a memorial commentary inscribed on the hot-hair hand-dryer.

My friend was up in Berkeley from Southern California, and picked me up at the BART station in the car she had rented at the Oakland airport.

We had lunch near the Oakland border right off San Pablo at an excellent cafe known to my friend but unknown to me, and I am terrible about remembering the names of places.

After lunch we wandered down San Pablo and were brought up short by Ohmega Salvage, two vast yards on opposite sides of the street packed tight with architectural fragments. Their home page features a quote from John Ruskin. Splendid for him if he could have lived to see this place. But he would be almost 200 years old in that case – not a fate to be wished on anyone.

I suppose the recent rain and the still-churning skies gave a certain lustre to this gigantic assemblage.

When I look at this picture it makes me think I absolutely must go back and acquire some of these super-vivid, formerly useful but now abandoned numbers and letters, though God alone knows what I would do with them.

More fugitive lettering, cursive cut out in metal, and the beginnings of the porcelain-supply section, my favorite.

People endlessly make fun of Berkeley, but in Berkeley's favor let it be said that my friend and I could wander around these grounds for an hour with our cameras very busy but with us showing no interest at all in becoming customers, and the staff thought that was completely fine. They smiled, as if to encourage us to document their truly remarkable conglomerations.

And my second-favorite category (after the bathroom fixtures) was the old windows.

Daylight on glass.