The car in front, on the left side of the street is flashing its headlights. The woman on the sidewalk is saying something. It is chaotic. I am confused.
Crazy people, I think, as I make a right turn. The car with the flashing lights must be trying to pick up the woman, I assume, and they are both trying to get each others attention. Just as I turn right, happy to get away from the chaos, her words and the flashing lights suddenly form a clearer picture. They were trying to tell me that I was going the wrong way on a one way street. My decision to turn right is the right response albeit unintentional.
I am the crazy one. The one way sign was blocked by a van that was parked on the corner of Valencia and 15th in San Francisco.
I lived in this neighborhood for ten years and walked around the streets hundreds of times. I thought I knew the streets. The roaring tiger, in the mural on the side of the Peruvian restaurant Pica Pica, always wakes me up. It’s at the corner where I had turned into the one way street. The van is blocking the mural also.
I am driving because I don’t live in the neighborhood anymore. My mission is to eat at Pica Pica. I love their Arepa and am excited to experience it again tonight.
I find parking within five minutes of my blunder, on the same one-way street but this time I am headed in the right direction. As I walk down 15th street towards Pica Pica, I am reminded of how easy it is to walk in San Francisco even late at night. I love the flowers and fauna of Santa Rosa, where I now live. But those can only be enjoyed during the day. At night, my Santa Rosa neighborhood is dark and quiet and easy to get lost in since the streets are not arranged in a grid.
At night, I am lost in the streets of my old neighborhood when I am in a car. At night, I am lost in the streets of my new neighborhood when I’m on foot.