Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Late Night In Richmond

So, the Balabusta'n'fella's friends down the street needed some help with the last stages of their move, and we've got a minivan. So we loaded up the minivan with various random stuff, and followed the male half of the couple up San Pablo Boulevard to the city of San Pablo.

We admired their new house, a small 1948 quasi-bungalow, which they are planning to modify in dramatic ways (refinishing everything, knocking down walls), and ate pizza. Then the fella and I attempted to drive home.

First we lost San Pablo. Then we took a weird turn west. Then we found the oh-god uckola parts of the city of Richmond. It's now a quarter of eleven at night. It's pitch black. The neighborhood keeps getting worse. We're trying to find a freeway onramp.

Finally we end up in a cul-de-sac, beyond which we can see the freeway. No use. We turn around and drive up the dark, dark, dark street.

There's a gas station at the corner. The fella tentatively suggests asking for directions. "OK", the Balabusta says, feeling faint.


"What have we got to lose?"

"Well, we could get shot," says the fella. The Balabusta notes at this point that the street, despite darkness, has a decent lot of people on it. They are all young, male, and moving SLOOOOOOWLY. It's freezing out.

We keep going. We retrace our path. We drive through post-apocalyptic neighborhoods, and then less awful ones, until finally the Balabusta concedes that her nervous-white-girl sense--one of my better superpowers--is down to 'tingle' rather than 'kicking like a mofo'.

We find the intersection that hornswoggled us the first time and try again. And again. No go. We begin to get somewhat baffled, and also frustrated. And fearful. We have a bad track record for getting out of Santa Clara (long story), and this seemed to be a similar situation.

Finally, we retraced back to the friends' home in San Pablo. "How do you get out of this horrible town?" we screamed as they opened the door.

Luckily, another mover was heading back to Oakland, and knew how to get on the 80. We followed, like a nervous duckling--and made it home by 11:30.

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