If you've found that the most romantic thing that you and your partner do together is pretty much confined to changing the kitty litter, then perhaps a stroll at twilight through Oakland's Morcom Amphitheater of Roses is in order. Even the most diehard of bickerers will be momentarily silenced at the almost ridiculous Technicolor beauty of hundreds of blooming roses. The urge to nag about who forgot to hang up the towels in the bathroom -- goddammit! -- will be replaced by an uncontrollable urge to fall on one knee and recite sonnets by nineteenth-century poets. (But if you can't remember anything by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, any song by the Carpenters will do.) And the heady aroma is intoxicating enough to make even the shiest of lovers yearn to find a nice quiet spot for a bit of splendor in the grass. Young lovers -- who don't need any help in this department-- will find themselves proposing things that they may later regret while under the bewitching hex of the roses. (Good thing you can also hold weddings there.) For those contemplating breaking up with their significant other, a romantic walk through the rose garden might just jar your memory and you may find yourself remembering what made you so gaga goo-goo over Snugglekins in the first place. It's definitely a lot cheaper, and definitely more fragrant, than a visit to a relationship counselor. But if you insist on having a broken heart anyway, or if you just like to write bad poetry about dead roses, plan a trip to the garden in the winter months. The barren rose bushes are a great metaphor for the exquisite suckiness of life, especially love.
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