Oakland, Stay Ratchet

Dear Oakland,

Amidst all this fancy shmancy talk about gentrification and the revival of Uptown and the high rise of condominiums and the veritable legalization of marijuana, I just want to say one thing: please stay ratchet. Don’t forget your roots in the ratchet West and the ever abounding unti-gentrify-able-ness in the East. Dear Oakland, please never forget how to do donuts and burn rubber. Dear Oakland, drugs will always be in fashion, and I guess that will never change, but never let the crime fade. Dear Oakland, there is always someone looking for a party at every moment of every day, so please don’t ever disappoint us with anything less than a raging drug fueled rock’n’roll or hip hop variety warehouse party. Vandalism, petty theft, grand theft auto, skateboarding on private property and assault of varying severity are constant cures for boredom, so, please, don’t ever let us get bored. We already have one San Francisco in the Bay Area, and we’d like to keep it that way. So, San Francisco, please keep to yourself on the other side of the Bay, and if we need a moment to revel in over priced slightly glitzy hotel bathroom cocaine binges, we will be there. But, for now, Oakland – stay ratchet!

Sure, there are some people who are decidedly anti-ratchetness. People who promote clean streets and throwing your cigarette butts in the garbage rather than gutter. People who would prefer if people stopped running red lights on 14th and Broadway. People who would prefer that all street crossing be relegated to the crosswalks rather than this “wherever you please” business that the rest of us subscribe to. People who frown at you while you drink your forty at the bus stop while waiting to get picked up to go to some party in the Lower Bottoms. People who are probably thinking that clothing you’re wearing looks ridiculous. But, then again, these are also people who don’t read fashion blogs (or maybe they read fashion blogs, but they’re, like, corporate Vogue magazine fashion blogs, not ratchet ass Tumblr Instagram reblog outposts) and are willing to pay $4 for a latte. And they probably want you to pay $4 for a latte, too, so, maybe, um, just fuck them?

And, Oakland, I promise that if you stay ratchet, I’ll stay ratchet. And this is how:

I’m not sure how many people out there have Ancient Age tattoos, but there must be at least 3 Oakland gutteratti scum fuck hipsters whose indulgence in irony has peaked at getting an Ancient Age tattoo somewhere on their bodies. Which is in no way respectable, but what I do respect is the constant Oakland regiment of going to the liquor store at 8 or 6 or 2 pm, grabbing a pint of Ancient Age and some whatever chaser, then drinking all of that until it’s party o’clock, grabbing another pint of Ancient Age, and heading out the door to do whatever it is that keeps you intoxicated and entertained after dark. If that means going to bars, then that means going to bars. If that means hanging outside of the library across the street from the bar while drinking 40’s, well, then, that’s cool time. Maybe it’s finding your way into some scummy house party that is walking the line of, “Do a bunch of graffiti kids live here? Or am I at a legitimate crack party at a legitimate trap house?”  Every weekend generally offers a panoply of impressive warehouse parties, be it raves, rave-inspired-hipster parties, conscious hip hop rap festivals, grimey garage rock affairs or metal inflicted drug binges.

If you don’t have a friend that’s a drug dealer, then one of your friends has a friend that’s a drug dealer. And even if you’re not in the mood to hit up your drug dealer and drop $ on some drugs, then I have faith that you’re really good at finding the most scammable drug addict in the party and trading the promise of something nonexistent (eg more drugs, sex or the possibility of finally, for once, being perceived as cool at this party) for some of those drugs. Most bottles at all parties are shareable, although they do require the right amount of wry wit and con artistry to get what is most likely an equally broke as fuck mother fucker to share their precious booze. Oh, and cigarettes, too, although people who don’t share their cigarettes are probably just racist, and you can let them know that.

It’s important to do all this while accompanying yourself with the maximum number of people who want to get likewise too fucked up to function and for as much time as possible. Start early, end late. Wake up in strange places, with strange people, but call of them your friends and friend them on Facebook as soon as you get to Internet. Condone doing the smallest of ratchet things, such as walking to coffee shops and picking up people’s coffees and drinking them while they’re not looking. Ask strangers for rides. Heckle white people. Find cash on the floor and then tell no one about it, just go ahead and spend it. Steal from thrift stores. Call yourself an anarchist, but really it’s just another name for being a bad person who does bad things.


Oh, anyways, what was I saying? Oh yeah…Oakland stay ratchet, and I’ll stay ratchet, too.