The World Getting Smaller

WHOEVER SAID THE world is getting smaller wasn’t kidding. I’ve taken several flights in recent months and in each case, felt like a smelt in a fish cannery. People are on top of each other at airport gates, spilling out over chairs and sprawling across floors — wolfing down meals in any little spot — even on top of garbage cans!

Add to that the fact that no one wants to check luggage, and who can blame them? Just last week I saw a tattered bag come down the chute in New York with its contents all askew. It turned out to be my friend’s suitcase, with her undergarments going around the belt repeatedly for everyone to see. Sure, the airline got her a new bag but they didn’t reimburse her for pain and suffering. And she never did get the tire marks out of her good sweater.

TRAIL TALK: Several readers have mentioned they’ve seen Oakland police driving on the village trail between Shepherd Canyon Road and Snake Road. They’re apparently warning, and in some cases ticketing pet owners who let their dogs run off-leash on the popular path. I don’t own a dog, but I did witness an incident, recently, where a bounding off-leash dog knocked a handicapped man to the ground. Dogs also run up and down the dirt banks, trampling plants and causing erosion. A few fines may curb some of that.

E-MAIL BAG: What do you get when you combine fresh air and exercise with good will? You get a program called Students Run Oakland, where adults help inner city high school students accomplish great things by running. Reader Mort Landsberg says the program is really inspirational. Not only do the kids learn good fitness, they set life goals and develop team building skills.

Meanwhile, several readers have complained about the fact that Montclair Elementary School locks the gate on its parking lot after hours.

“How unfriendly to the local people,” one caller said, emphasizing the shortage of parking near the village. But neighbors have been complaining about nighttime drug dealing and loitering in the parking lot, and locking the gate is one way to curb that.

BUTTS AND BAGS: Two of the our waterway’s most visible polluters are plastic shopping bags and cigarette butts, according to reader Constance Young. In more than 10 years as a captain on the Hornblower Cruises, she’s seen “a plethora of these trash items not just in the Bay, but on the streets of Oakland.” Short of making a citizen’s arrest when you see someone tossing their butt or letting their bag blow away in the wind, what can you do? Perhaps Oakland could tackle this problem now that a law banning Styrofoam take-out containers is in place.

DELTA SAIL: Get out your cruise wear. The USS Potomac is taking a leisurely sail up the Delta to Old Sacramento on April 11. Picture yourself on FDR’s fancy floating White House as you wind your way past fun and funky Delta towns, enjoying breakfast, lunch and a wine and appetizer reception with music. You’ll even get a history lesson of the ship and the Delta region.

The cost is $225 one way, or $400 if you decide to stay in Old Town and catch the boat back on April 16. For more information, call 510-627-1215.


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