The Laugh of Quince Silva (a 30:30 report)
Back from reality, oops I got gravity, and well, um, yes, call it borrowing from a master, while here in Oakland, this morning, I find myself on what you might label the south side of the lake, that’s The Lake, Lakeshore Drive, on one of the streets running off and up, and camped out on the front steps, concrete, of Quince Silva, a friend of longstanding, a young beautiful black woman who I’ve been hanging out with in terms of righteous friendship, heavy devotion, and serious ongoing wonder of her gifts (all of them), from since I was knee high to an East Bay Times free-giveaway box, one of those green metal things on so many corners around town, so this morning I’m out here waiting on Quince as we have plans for another slow stroll around the Merritt circumference which is always worthwhile and health-oriented and we for sure are often bumping into friends and running buddies – which some would indicate as co-conspirators and you can do with that what you wish – and I am particularly excited for this morning’s three-mile hike because the young woman of mention, the star of this show, has promised to share with me…..
– Well, let me go back, see it begins with Quince when she was about nine making the decision to never own a car, so that’ll mean not one single trip of painful delay and waiting to any of the myriad local Motor Vehicle permission sites, you know what I’m talking about, and no insurance bills in the mail and no who’s fault was it accidents and having to deal with racist cops (one less opportunity for one of those unpleasant get-togethers) and no money spent on gas, though a couple of things you should know is that Quince is never one to deny an offer to be chauffeured somewhere she needs to be in a vehicle belonging to someone else which means, being the amazingly generous soul she is, that Quince has in fact spent a few dineros here and there on the price of gasoline when she has offered up what we’ve always in our youngster days referred to as “gas money”, that sharing with the friend doing her the good deed,
So back when I was making the list of what she has not had to go through or spend money on thanks to her vow to never own a personal vehicle (and we’re exempting skate boards here in this conversation) yes, she has spent money on petrol just not her own, and also so as not to give the wrong impression Quincy did, in fact, one time enter a DMV building as to take the written and driving test necessary to obtain a driving license from the state of California because you never know when having a driver’s license can come in handy, hello Oakland Airport and TSA jackals and otherwise needing to prove something or buy something or, and this is the most fun of all, scam someone, some official, some big-shot of officialdom,
And anyway that may be a few extra words as prelude to what I want to tell you about this morning’s walk around the lake, me and Quince, and it’s just after 10:15 when she comes flying out her door and finds me on the second from the bottom step and pulls me up into her well-trimmed arms and gives me a massive smooch on the cheek and says let’s blow Milkster ( her nickname for me, who of course by now with all these reports and hopefully engaging tales you know as the author Milky Dent) and we wait for traffic and cross over to the walking path around the lake and get past the little monument place which from across the street you could go to that bakery – long gone – where they had great pies and it surely was maybe a month of late nights, added up all together, of days Quince and I hit that bakery for some of those pies, one time when we were a little wacked on some wacky tobaccy we ordered a whole pie – see, I had hustled some extra money that week and that is a very cool story which I will lay on you tomorrow – but now we are passing that spot on our circumference walk and we get to the matter of today which is Quince has promised me she is going to teach me how to ride on the BART without ever paying, since you have to figure Quince would be taking the BART a whole lot what without her owning a car and being the wildly social creature she is, which in her case is good because wherever she goes she is sharing herself which is a walking overdose of compassion and bursting energy and check out all the possibilities bro’s and sis’s, so yes she rides the BART all the time and sometimes she visits friends we both have going north, like stops in Albany and El Cerrito and eventually all the way up to Richmond but mostly she’s flying under the water, the bay, and over into San Francisco and getting out, often right away at the Embark (which is what us locals gave it a nickname, well, a few of us from Oakland did) and sometimes farther up near the civic center and then sometimes over to the Mission because Quince has like three places she will go all the way over to there for breakfast or lunch, what she refers to as choice Mexican food, as in the real deal,
So as we come around what I think of as the bottom of the lake but when you think about it how can you figure bottom and sides and top, I mean it is the west end of the lake like if you were a seagull and flew west from this end you’d be closer to Daly City than any other spot on the lake but still that doesn’t make it the bottom, so you just have to accept that it’s the bottom to me, and we are walking up over that little bridge and pretty soon I’ll be able to see the Museum which is another place me and Quince hang a bunch, and she begins to share with me the secret of her ability to scam the main transportation system around here and ride free at all times, and the cool thing is she starts talking about mathematics – like, Milkster, I’m telling you, dig the math of space and time and hoppings over and slidings under and running up and down staircases of serious concrete and I barely can follow along which cracks me up and my cracking up leads to her wild infectious glorious laughter – that sweetest sound of the laugh of Quince Silva, which come to think of it I may title this story because it sort of rolls off the soul (you thought I was going to say tongue – ha-ha) and we’re both laughing and we walk by tons of Oakland folks who start laughing along with us, which I already mentioned Quince has a laugh which is indeed infectious and you could look that up in some medical book and get the picture very clearly…..
But there is something I have yet to have told you and it is kind of a big thing and I suppose some of you will think I should have led with this and not leading with it is shoddy journalism or story-telling, like if this began once upon a time, well, okay, let me start again – Once upon a time in the municipality of Oakland California lived a glorious young woman of black-skin who the people knew as Quince the Witch, because, so now I’m back to now time and my original story, we are walking past the new restaurant place and where rich people keep boats and never mind the huge eucalyptus trees that I have always loved with all my heart and that big Scottish temple is coming up and Quince starts laughing smaller, like Oh, Milky (she’s different and a bit more serious using the real name), she says I simply make myself invisible and I just walk on through those turnstiles and there is not a thing the man (anyone who runs stuff that isn’t free or cool Quince calls “the man”) — they can’t do anything about it.
And here comes her amazing smile, and a — “You feel me?”