Amblin' Alameda: Visitors and Smugness

Amblin' Alameda: Visitors and Smugness

Morton Chalfy

We’re entertaining some very good friends for a few days on a stop-over in their trip from Canada to SoCal and their visit has revealed a side of myself that makes me uncomfortable. I’ve become smug about living in Alameda. (As opposed to grateful.)

We picked them up at SFO, wormed our way through traffic to the freeway and successfully negotiated I-880. As soon as we got off the highway and into Alameda they began remarking about how beautiful and quiet the city is and how the architecture is so interesting and where are we going to eat first and look at those flowers!

“Oh, yes,” we said proprietarily. “Alameda is pretty nice.”

The smugness in my voice just caught me up short. Being smug is not sinful but it is, to me, not an attractive trait in a person.

Alameda does seem to inspire some level of it, though. It is a beautiful and quiet city. The atmosphere is conducive to enjoying life. From the canopy of trees over Central Avenue at this time of year to the pleasures of walking along Shoreline Drive, natural surroundings abound and soothe the city with their virtues.

Of course it is the people who make our city and its atmosphere what it is. Alamedans are more courteous that our bigger-city brethren, Alameda drivers are more tolerant and forgiving and the population seems always ready to help. The large number of young people, school children, give the city a lively, playful attitude and the music of children’s laughter.

We ate at our friends' almost-favorite restaurant where they exclaimed over the food and service and where we watched a progression of Alamedans walk by the windows.

“What a lovely young woman,” was said at least three times while we sat there. Now, not to be sexist, but I do believe that youthful beauty, especially youthful feminine beauty, can make any place seem brighter and more welcoming and Alameda seems to have more than its share.

Perhaps we have a right to be a little smug, but, at least for me, trying to hide it better is called for.