Hey there, walkers. This is the first of thirty-one messages you'll be getting this month about Walking in Oakland.
This is Edgar. He’s a dog. He’s my primary walking companion.
This little guy moves. He weighs eleven pounds and at least half of it is bounding, scampering, powerhouse dog haunch.
I do not understand how this happened. He is an athlete. A thoughtful, careful little athlete, but an athlete. He invents games, learns and teaches them with other dogs. Bounce-back-and-forth, chase-you-chase-me, hump-wrestle-leading-into-clash-of-the-titans, reared up, paws flailing.
I am not an athlete.
Edgar’s previous owner, my partner’s sister’s dog-breeding mother in law, says, “People get the dogs they need,” and I guess what we needed was a dog that moves.
I had a strange moment a few years ago, in an escape room at the Palace of Fine Arts. The first part of the room was a series of visual and word puzzles, and I spent most of it having a tiny personal crisis, because I was useless. Some of the puzzles I might have worked out eventually, but someone else on my team was always faster. Some of them I was entirely stumped by. I redeemed myself, slightly, by knowing a few things about chemical elements, but here I was, a former English major on a team full of software developers, and I was failing on word puzzles.
And then we got to the part of the room that was, quote, a “Zelda jump puzzle.” Feats of strength. It involved passing a light-filled chalice back and forth while keeping it steady, hopping from light pool to light pool.
And I rocked. I was good at jumping. I was great at keeping that chalice upright, even challenging conditions. I had an iron core. I impressed people with feats of strength.
I was not an athletic child. (I'm still not, but I can lift weights now.) I had this buried so deep in my identity — not an athlete — that it really did shake me to be so good at something physical.
Relatively speaking, anyway. I mean, this was a team of software nerds.
What old stories about yourself are you carrying around, that are no longer true? Reply with a sentence that you wouldn't mind me sharing anonymously, and I'll include it in a future issue of Walking, and maybe whatever print version this ends up getting.
See you tomorrow--
This is the 5th of 31 issues of Walking in Oakland, a daily newsletter by Nat Bennett. It's also the last one that's going to get posted up publicly, so if you've found these missives worth reading, take a moment to forward this e-mail to a friend, and share the home page on your social media of choice. Yesterday I took my first long walk for this project. I mean, not a long walk, not by the standards of long walks, but a substantial walk. The first walk I wouldn't have done if I hadn't...
This little guy again. Edgar on his way to the park Onward! If you're just joining us, I'm Nat Bennett, this is Edgar Friendly, and you're reading Walking in Oakland, Issue #4 of 31. The big walk every day is to and from the park. At the park, there is romping. Between here and the park: Road. Cars. Busses. Edgar fears and loathes a bus. As a puppy, he would scurry away, tail tucked under his body, whenever he heard one coming. Now he's braver. A little older, a little wiser, a little more...
Hey there, walkers. I'm Nat Bennett, photographer and sometimes-dog-walker, and you're reading the 3rd of 31 daily issues of Walking in Oakland. This is our local corner store. Williams Liquor Market and Deli, on the corner of 59th and Telegraph. We go there a couple times a week, to buy Yerba mate and ice cream sandwiches. Occasionally, when we run out, we buy eggs. They also sell incense, in big fat sticks. We’ve never bought incense there. I’m kind of prissy about incense. I use Japanese...