I write this in the midst of a weeklong journalism conference that takes me far from home to Berkeley, California. This is the West Coast. I've never been on this side of the continent before, so it's like I'm a baby, only I can feed myself and hold myself upright and am very large and have hair and teeth and the power of speech and thought and can drive a car and buy cigarettes and eat things with bones in them.
They do things differently on the West Coast than they do back east. For example, while on a morning jog I saw a put-upon fellow empty what looked like a coffee cup of urine into some bushes. But back home, we have much different kinds of plants.
Very many homeless people call Berkeley their home. And so since Berkeley is their home these people aren't actually homeless after all, it seems. Problem solved.
Yesterday, we listened to a multimedia lecture by two people from the Las Vegas Sun. One looked like Beck, and the other looked like Moby. They were quite smart and helpful, but their musical abilities have yet to be proven. Then we ate a meal comprised entirely of food in bite-sized pieces. It was delicious. After the dinner, we heard from a man from Kansas who had a deep voice. “Stop cutting jobs and reinvest,” he said. Hear hear! I’m going to pack him in my suitcase and bring him home to my editor.
During the last portion of the evening, the guy who looks like Moby had vanished somewhere but the guy who looks like Beck was still hanging around. He sat at my table, Beck, eating a pasta salad and fiddling with his iPhone. I wondered where Moby'd run off to. I'd heard he was reclusive and difficult but hadn't believed it until now.
After the fellowship was over for the night, all of the fellowshippers walked home through the UCB campus using "The Buddy System," as apparently there are wild bears roaming around on campus. I keep seeing signs for them all over the place: "Go, bears." I made it back to the hotel in one piece and rode up in the elevator with the guy who looks like Beck and some other people. Beck invited people out to a bar to party with him, and presumably his entourage of other white, slightly geeky musical friends, like the guy from Weezer and Jack White. I didn't go with Beck, though. I haven't kept up with his music the last few years. It would've been awkward if it had come up.