Well, I'm staying in downtown Oakland for the first time. And I can't sleep. But I did have the pleasure of taking a walk down to De Lauer's -- nothing else is open after midnight -- where I perused the huge selection of Dover Thrift Editions, looked at some art and film magazines, and bought a bag of Doritos to tide me over. There and back I was reminded of how safe I feel walking around in downtown Tucson because, though I wasn't shuddering in fear, I knew I had to be maximally alert during each step of my four-block journey. On the way back into the Marriott I had the delightful experience -- I mean that sincerely -- of being hassled by the hotel's night watchmen, who asked me what room I was in, then what my name was, then claimed that there was no record of me. It must have been my pinkish red polo shirt and khakis that made me look suspicious. Seriously, I've seen lots of people in this hotel and none of them are white. I suppose I'm being treated to the inverse of the driving-while-not-white situation that confronts young males of color on California's freeways. I didn't mind paying psychological reparations because it was clear that the hotel staffers were having fun with me. Whatever. It's all good. I will say that this hotel has really nice rooms and a great view. It could be worse. I could be confined to a tiny room afraid of making noise that would incur the wrath of my friend's high-strung partner. Right?