The idea of going to Pleasanton was decidedly unpleasant.
My desire to stay home, read and putter around was strong. Then, I thought about Dr. Vivek Murthy’s warning about America’s loneliness epidemic
. I thought about the type of person I wanted to be (not a flake), and I thought about the friend I was going to meet (someone I had not seen in over a year). All of those thoughts came together into a commitment: I would make
the idea of going to Pleasanton pleasant.
So, I left my apartment, grabbed a quick bite, boarded the train and found ways to occupy myself for an hour until I reached my stop in San Francisco. Then, I walked a few blocks and found my friend. There I learned that she was also less than enthused about going to Pleasanton even though it had been her idea. Like me, though, she knew that this was an adventure, and we were not the kind of people to turn down an adventure. Besides, my trek to the city had already generated momentum.
We made a deal: If we didn’t have a good time, at least we shared the time together and, regardless, we’d have a story to tell. With that, we hopped into the car and set off.
At this point, you may be wondering what is in Pleasanton. Well, there’s the Firehouse Art’s Center
and, this weekend, the Taste of Africa, Pleasanton’s "6th annual extravaganza celebration and adventure into African culture” hosted by the Pleasanton-based Cheza Nami Foundation
. The foundation’s core mission is to "preserve and encourage the appreciation of African culture by inspiring and educating the American public about Africa’s extensive and unique attributes, regardless of their heritage of origin.”
I didn’t even have that much detail when I left. I knew there was an African arts festival of some kind, but beyond that I was clueless. I was also still a little miffed about not having my usual read-n-eat Saturday alone (and, if I were honest with myself, a little lonely).
We got to the festival, and parked. That was when I heard the music.
Not an hour later I had beads of sweat running down my back while I spoke energetically with local artisans from Ghana and Kenya and my parents’ home countries of Nigeria and Jamaica. I filled my belly with Jollof rice and plantains, I bought all-natural hair care products for my curly mop and I even bought a new dress. We toured the art exhibit, and if I had $3500 to spare, I’d have a new statement art piece for my apartment.