Dog Bites

Whither the Avant-Garde?... To Suburbia, Of Course!

Sigh. Oh. Where were we? Well, anyone who's read much of what passes for journalism in these various publications may be forgiven for thinking that perhaps there's too much coddling, and not enough, say, yelling going on in their editorial suites -- but still.

Anyhow, until someone -- perhaps even an elected official! Though it seems unlikely -- emerges with a plan to make it feasible for those of us not working for an e-biz journal to imagine an actual future in this city, Dog Bites recommends we all pacify ourselves by focusing on acquiring consumer goods. A home may be forever beyond your reach -- but you can still treat yourself to a sharp-looking ice bucket, right?

Or, as Charles Purdy writes to confess, "I just know that once Ikea opens I'll be able to live a happy, fulfilling life in rooms like the ones in the catalog."

Burning Rubber: Guy Overfelt in Silicon Valley Drawing 040.
Burning Rubber: Guy Overfelt in Silicon Valley Drawing 040.

Actually, Ikea's Emeryville parking lot aloneis enough to make Dog Bites weep with joy. Parenthetically, several weekends back we were down at the Bed Bath & Beyond at Ninth and Brannan, stuck in an unmoving line of cars snaking around the upper level of the parkade and trying not to think of the word "earthquake," when up ahead of us one wily man took a parking space another man thought was his.

The latter stormed over to the former and began screaming, fuchsia-faced, eventually following the alleged space-thief -- "fucking dickhead loser" -- part of the way to the staircase off the roof. This was too much for Dog Bites, cringing behind the wheel and hoping neither man would take a swing at the other; we crept back out of the lot without making any further attempt to park, and plan not to return if at all possible, even if we have to drive to Santa Rosa to shop at the BB&B there.

Ah, Santa Rosa -- only an hour up the 101 if you go early on a weekend morning when there's practically no traffic, yet a world away! Santa Rosa, where new tract homes start at $230,000! Santa Rosa, where lovingly maintained blacktop acreages remind us why suburbia, even suburbia an hour up the 101, is not such a bad place if you're an adult and actually have errands you need to complete in your one day off work a week, as opposed to optional shopping trips for zebra-print ponyskin mules or a Hard Candy glitter candle set. Suburbia whispers seductively, "Go ahead, get that 30 -pound box of Everclean cat litter. You know you want it. And you can take it to your car in a shopping cart. And an agitated man on a cell phone won't be trailing you the whole way in his silver A-4, blasting his horn to let you know he wants your parking space, either." (Incidentally, Dog Bites would like to say to you, sir, now that we are safely in our office, which requires an electronic key to enter, "Fucking dickhead loser.")

And now that artists are rediscovering the allure of suburbia, can hipster young ad execs be far behind? Soon, the Mission will be the preserve of lumpen software company HR managers and their pallid, private-school-educated youngsters, while the avant-garde and its hangers-on homestead live-work spaces in converted 7-Elevens in El Cerrito, Dublin, and -- yes -- Santa Rosa.

Or at least, that's how we see it. Meanwhile: only 35 shopping days until Ikea!

Tip Dog Bites -- especially if you're disgruntled. Phone 536-8139; fax 777-1839; e-mail

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