Amoeba
05.14.02 // 11:56 p.m.

I love Amoeba, really I do. Perhaps love is too strong of a word. How can I say I love my mom and then use the exact same word to describe the way I feel about a record store? English just doesn’t have enough words for love. But I still contend that Amoeba rocks.

My first trip ever to Amoeba was on October 13, 2001. Do you find it odd that I still remember the date? I don’t. I even know what I wore that night and how Dominic and I ended up at Amoeba on Haight Street even though our intention was to grab a bite to eat at the neighboring Cuban restaurant, Cha Cha Cha.

Amoeba is one of those places everyone gloats about. They brag about the amount of money they dropped in one visit, or the hours they spent walking up and down the aisles and sifting through the stacks of records, new and used CD’s and shelves full of new and used DVD’s & videos. I hear tall tales about finding some obscure record coveted by many. Debates rage over which Amoeba location is best, Berkeley, San Francisco or the newest one in Hollywood. Everyone has their own personal favorite, mine being SF of course.

Although the name implies a sense of disorganization, shapelessness and chaos, the fact remains that Amoeba itself is a pretty easy place to navigate, though maybe not at first.

The first time I walked in I was a bit overwhelmed, there were just rows and rows of records. It was as if I was in the fields off of highway 5, but instead of Mexican workers picking fruit, shoppers of all ages and colors were picking out their favorite music. Every inch of the wall was covered with posters of bands for sale. I was even more astounded to find an area just for jazz music a little smaller than your average record store in a shopping mall.

I was amazed. While Dom headed over to the hip hop section to sift through the records I went back to the Latin music section and went through my brain thinking of which CD’s were on my “need” list. I think music and bookstores have a strange time warp. You feel like you’ve only been there for a few minutes when in reality you just spent an hour trying to decide between buying the Amores Perros soundtrack or Maldita Vecindad’s Baile de Máscaras. I think I walked out with both that night as well as a CD by los Aterciopelados and Afro-Cuban All Stars’ A Todo Cuba Le Gusta.

At one point I thought I had lost Dom and briefly panicked. I was in a city I barely knew, in a weird part of town and my host was nowhere to be found. At least I was driving my dad’s Jeep that time. It was all good though. Dom and I left Amoeba satisfied with our purchases and headed over to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Once back in LA I had a dream about shopping at Amoeba with Dom. In the dream, I really did lose him. I searched for him in the store and then went outside to the Jeep thinking that he had already paid and was just waiting for me at the car. But when I went out there, he wasn’t there either, and neither was my car. I freaked! And all of a sudden my parents came by in the Jeep to pick me up (I don’t know what they were doing in SF). I left with them thinking I had lost Dom. Once in the car, I realized that I was driving my car, Computer Blue, rather than the Jeep. I begged my parents to go back because Dom was probably waiting there.

Then I woke up. I think I’m going to treat myself to an Amoeba trip after finals. How nice, no?

After my last trip to Amoeba, I walked out with the following:

Los Lobos - Just Another Band From East L.A. A Collection (double CD set)

Julieta Venegas - Bueninvento

Manu Chao - Clandestino

The Velvet Teen - Out of the Fierce Parade

Videos: Clueless and Como Agua Para Chocolate (Like Water for Chocolate)

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Me siento: unmotivated
Escuchando: Julieta Venegas' cover of "La Jaula de Oro" originally by Los Tigres del Norte

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