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Going off the tangent: BART, East Oakland, Werner Pfeiffer and Rap music.

Today it took me three hours to get my reference shift as there was a "disabled" train stuck in West Oakland around 07:30 hours. While the frustrated passenger waited on the platforms looking for a ray or two of hope, I decided to take our wonderful extremely dirty and unmaintained no. 1 bus of the AC Transit. While the bus roared off the East 14th Street, I was busy watching how the scenery changed from the well-kept downtown San Leandro to wild unkempt houses of poverty-ridden East Oakland.  As I looked at all different ethnicities on that crowded bus, I found myself to be in my home. The Chinese senior citizens, Mexican day laborers, and mothers taking their children to the kindergartens, the African American children, and their mothers, and an occasional white face or two was the urban landscape that surrounded me. And yes, English is not my language.

As I dreamt for I too have a dream, my thoughts for some reason went back to the speech that our first African-American president Barack Obama gave. Yes, that speech about the hope and the change. For the past four years, I have seen East Oakland shining like a poverty stricken star of hope for the migrants-free, temperamental and independent. I wondered if he and Michele will ever ride number 1 bus with us? Or in their retirement, they will be busy finding the lost girls that Boko Haram had abducted forcefully...And for some reason, I thought about the artists books as an object of art. I thought about those who manipulate the paper medium into an art-form. I thought of Werner Pfeiffer and his creations that I had a chance to look during my short term at heavenly and manicured capital of American education-Princeton. I felt there as if I was a made-man. What had happened to me?  I shrug off the thoughts to oblivion.

As I was continued to think about that Mr. Obama's speech, I also thought about the European game of giving him the Noble peace prize. Did the world really change? Did we give hope in Syria? Or we continued to play our own population promising them to be made great again? I thought about Putin's Russia, the hacking and thought about Russia of those who opposed him. As I was thinking about the complex and unsolvable world problems, I also was thinking about how I as a librarian sweep my own office, cubicle, workspace to keep it clean and free of dust. I was thinking about the new "strategic plan" brainstorming sessions, where I was thinking about how dirty are the floors in one particular temple of books and digital objects.

I was thinking about the smelly toilets that also exist in the greatest super-power and the pot and potholes on our streets. While I was in this dreamlike state, a lady-citizen who was sitting next to me suddenly started to play loud music on her boom-box. I looked at her and she said- this life man, this is our east 14th. She asked me if I had any problem with her music. I kept silent...and continued to listen to her music. I felt that I am out of place and I have lost touch with America that surrounds me. I asked myself- am I supposed to have a serious face in our boring and non-ending meetings where we talk about information literacies or strategic plan? Should I pay attention to words that have lost meaning....or should I just doze off to the world of rap that was playing during that precise moment. The rap song that was playing had all sort of non-traditional language but it left playing in my mind as I proceed through the day. I felt like a hero of a Mexican novel by my dear friend Cecilia Magaña-"La cabeza decapitada." But the rap music continued interrupting my journey towards bibliographic nirvana. So here it is and please do not label I am not a rapper and I do not have any record label in mind.
I present you with E-40 and the lyrics can be offensive for some but it is what it is- a meditation in the urban jungle of East Oakland and this is a "kosher version" as today is Shabbos.
Yup, everybody's got choices? Do I have one? How can I contribute more to my field of Slavic and East European Studies librarianship? How can I come out of the la cabeza decapitada and hug my Mexican friends and family? Do I need to be like Eisenstein and travel to Mexico to create my own version of ¡Que viva México! (Да здравствует Мексика!)?

So Enjoy this clipe- and all copyrights belong to them. I am just sharing my learning experience. The lyrics can be offensive but I did not write them. I had never heard this song before today.


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