For a few years there Downtown Oakland were my daily stomping grounds.

Not by total choice, I'll cop to that. It's where the home office is and I got familiar enough with it to keep myself loaded up on caffeine and cheap eats. Lots of sugar. Corner donuts and deli sammiches.

I've been away for almost half a decade and it has half-gentrified. There's the Rudy's Can't Fail cafe, which is now my morning haunt. A diner which started up across the street from Pixar in Emeryville and is owned by one of the members of Green Day. This is the second Rudy's and it has a full liquor license.

At breakfast yesterday an older gentleman tried to order a Courvoisier at 9:30 AM. He settled for brandy.

I hope Downtown Oakland stays like this: always teetering on the edge of gentrifying or slipping back into urban decay. A border zone where no one belongs but everyone is warily welcome. A place where hipster coffee sits next to shitty donuts sits next to hair salon sits next to upscale bar sits next to bodega.

You know, like America.