Friday, July 23, 2004

Issue 8: Adventures in Driving, etc.

The Firm has a small library that I enjoy using when I really need to concentrate (Our office is so social that sometimes my office isn’t the best place for getting work done.) In the library, I always chose the same seat – huge table, comfy chair. In the far distance, there are two skinny, tall palm trees that always remind me of Dr. Seuss books (the Lorax, maybe?) I’ve been looking at those trees for weeks, so you can imagine my surprise when I was driving to work on the 101, and out of the corner of my eye, glimpsed the two trees – on the left side of the 101, right next to the highway!! I’ve been passing them twice a day for literally months and never noticed.

On Gilbert Street, there is a tree that is growing in the middle of the street. Literally. The base of the tree is about 4 feet from the sidewalk, and the asphalt goes right up to its trunk. I wish that someone had hung a little plaque on the tree, or that there was some other kind of explanatory sign. I want to know it’s history, and how it came to be spared.

I’m getting a little better about orienting myself here. It’s all about resetting your parameters. In DC, when you get on the Beltway or the Metro, you think about which direction you’re heading to set your end points. Richmond or Tysons? Vienna or New Carrolton? Here, going north-south it’s San Francisco and San Jose. On the 92, it’s Half Moon Bay (to the west) and the San Mateo Bridge (crossing over into the East Bay.) The El Camino Real stretches from San Diego up to Sonoma county and connects 21 missions founded by the Spanish in the 18th century. (It’s not the only El Camino Real, the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. runs between Santa Fe, NM and Mexico City, and another one that runs in Mexico to northern Louisiana.) The Spanish names of streets still intrigue me – my new favorite, Junipero Serra. I am still enjoying Alameda de las Pulgas – which sounds so fascinating, but apparently means Avenue of the Fleas.

Bay area radio is an interesting thing. Because it stretches from San Jose up to Marin (north of SF), and over to the East Bay (Oakland, etc.), some radio stations broadcast from different places on different frequencies. Which would explain why I was blessed with "She’s like the Wind" by Patrick Swayze on three different stations on my drive home earlier this week. I also managed to catch a version of Shania Twain’s "Still the One" in Spanish, complete with tuba.

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