It’s Sunday morning in Oakland, about 9.
As I left Derek’s apartment, he looked at my badly arranged overnight bag (and my computer bag and my day sling bag) and said, “that’s a lot of stuff”. I shrugged. I’m big and it was badly packed.
The grey overcast has given up its hold early on the city, and the sunlight is cool enough in the concrete valley of Telegraph Ave. that even I don’t feel too harsh a need for my sunglasses where they are stashed in the car.
I have my new truck in a Bay Area Parkin Co parking lot because they have guards and are enclosed – the only one of its type in the area, and after the $2000 break-in to my Beetle on an Oakland city street 2 months ago, no more public parking for me in this city. The pedestrian gates on the side are locked. *sigh* I check my phone. It’s 9:29, and as far as I know they open at 6. Maybe on weekends they don’t open the pedestrian gates in the morning?
I walk around to the main garage entrance. As it turns out, on Sunday, they just don’t open at all. The gates are down. No attendant in sight. That weird disbelief like when you find yourself sitting in broken glass after an accident, or your parking space has no car in it washes over me. The gravity shearing between what the mind was expecting, and what is pouring in through the senses.
I crane my neck looking for signs. To the left of the entrance, behind the stone balustrade between iron grill gates is the sign that in relatively small print shows the hours of operation. At the very bottom, where a driver (certainly the driver of a tall truck) would never see it are the fateful words: Sunday – closed.
In the mole dark of the first story I can see the black outline of my truck and the chrome wheels shining. Further back, like they are hiding behind it, there are a smattering of small cars, all sitting quiet as kidnappees at gunpoint. There’s no contact number or even a name of the company that runs the lot, only an emergency number for the company that made the doors in case they should fail to operate or possibly eat a car.
My friend Derek has clearly put his phone away and is not answering texts or calls. I’m not going to make my 10 am job interview. I’m probably not going to make my afternoon appointment or my goodbye time with my boyfriend here in the north.
The madness takes hold. My American can-do attitude puffs itself up with the insanity of Oakland and frustrated intent. I use the web, my phone, the Oakland City website. Only through Google maps, I find out the name of the company that runs the garage. Surely they have someone who can – one number on their website rings endlessly; the other is endlessly busy. I do not get the message.
On my iPad’s excellent mapping app, I find Enterprise Rent-a-Car. They do local pickups, right? They’ll come get me. I stop to think. If I wait long enough (it’s been an hour), surely Derek will get back to his phone and i can use his car, except my stuff, which I have to get out of my apartment, will never fit in his little Mitsubishi. Which would mean coming back to Oakland Monday, getting my car, going back to Folsom, and even in the deep red haze of frustrated dreams, I can see that’s ridiculous. I’m starting to feel like a besieged character in one of my stories. I make a mental note to be nice to them. At least for a chapter or two.
I’m writing this at Shuttle stop 3H at the Oakland Airport, the “Rental Car Shuttles” stop. I did not get a truck.
A 15 minute wait for a BART train, 30 minute ride to the airport, an extremely beautiful pouty-lipped Latino thug in tight clothes who sat across from me on the 30 minute BART train ride to the airport touching his pumped up pecs every 45 seconds, a $3 (exact change which I had to beg from an old woman and the cute bus driver) BART BUS ride to Oakland International (you can’t use BART cards for this, so my roundtrip fare is useless), and the guy at the Enterprise counter lets me know that (in service to The Friend) he doesn’t have any trucks, but that in 3 hours or so they can get one over from SFO. Or I could take BART there, and he proceeds to recite the mystical incantation of the BART system that would transport me to that exotic locale.
I laugh so hard, I turn red (no great feat there – even thinking about hot weather does that), and nearly fall over at the counter.
I had my job interview in the warm afternoon sun of Marin, and it was easy and creative and brilliant. So easy, it seemed impossible.
Was the morning difficulty a balance for the ease of the afternoon? Is that the way things work? Or was it something else. Was it “slow down, take your time, ease in, don’t rush, focus on things that matter”? Or something else altogether.