Rockridge Cafe in Oakland

CHEAP EATS I've lost track of how many parts there have been in this three-part series. Hopefully more than three. Hopefully not more than six. I wouldn't want to rock anyone over the ridge. Same time, I do want to show off my new neighborhood.

So: Rockridge Cafe. Been there twice, and both times I got the same thing, the Italian scramble, which is great. They also have ricotta cheese pancakes, and a lot of other cool stuff, but I'm telling you: Italian scramble. Sausage, provolone, some other things, eggs of course, and I think parsley. The potatoes aren't real good.

But speaking of scrambled Italians ... I'm on the train again, coming home, and my right eyeball is all a-wobble in its socket. I needs me a night of completely horizontal, unrattled sleep, and of course a long bath.

When I returned up from one of many trips to the toilet, I accidentally attracted the attention of a black man of color, who addressed me as Sweetie or Baby or Honey — I forget which because I was so astounded by the next words out of his mouth. He liked my perfume, he said. What was it?

"My perfume?" I said, stalling for something smart-ass. It worked! "Oh, that's Eau de Three Days On The Train," I said.

He laughed and all the people in the seats around him laughed.

I'd have left it at that, but he was wearing a black doo-rag and a Raiders jersey and he had a beautiful ruby set in the middle of his one front tooth, so, recognizing the potential for a date with a hometownish boy (I just know there's a cooler way to say that) ... I sniffed myself and said, "Gee, do you like it? Really?"

"Come here," he said, still laughing. And that was it. The whole train had to put up with us for the rest of the way. Which was Sacramento. I'd misread him.

He didn't misread me. There is a class of man, thank God, which recognizes and appreciates the Kind of Woman That I Am. A chicken farmer. Well, a recovering chicken farmer.

Whereas my man is a recovering gangster. Between slow deep kisses, copped feels, and heartfelt professions of "representation," he explained to me about L.A., drugs, drug dealing, and how, if I understood him correctly, he'd killed some people.

It's important, especially in the early stages of romance, to establish common ground, so I told him about having killed my chickens. "But not these last ones," I said, to be clear. "I gave them away."

He kept looking at me, into me, smiling, laughing, and shaking his doo-ragged head, saying things like, "Girl, you are so cool." And, "Girl, you are the bomb." And he liked my hat and how did he find me and he knew every time he watched me walk down the aisle how real I was. And how real he was.

What else he was, of course, was drunk. And worried about his breath. So you know, there is something very touching about an ex-gangster who is self-conscious about his breath.

Which was fine, by the way, so I gave him my number, and agreed in spirit to the terms of our "representation."

I think I'm his woman.

Yeah, that's how it goes: I am his woman, and he is my man, and when we are out with his homos, or homies (or something like that), I represent him and he represents me, and when we are not together I have his back. He has mine. I like this!

In fact, we both had the chance to prove ourselves on the train. A young white rap-ripping poseur from the suburbs of somewhere disrespected my man's woman by "informing" him, when he went to get a beer, that, yo, he was kicking it with a dude.

As if after half a day of heart-to-heart and hand-to-body he didn't know exactly what kinda woman his woman was! Well, my man is no poseur.

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