We have a ritual of going to Arby’s in South San Francisco for lunch whenever
one of our Subaru drivers is getting his car serviced. The problem is, South
San Francisco is possibly the least hospitable place on the peninsula, and it
doesn’t really help that your average Arby’s tends towards the ghetto side.
Let me first say that any city that thinks it’s a good idea to write
San Francisco – The Industrial City” on the side of their mountain probably
isn’t going to be a very nice place to live, much less visit.
While we were ordering our food, one of the employees went to her car, and
returned with a cup of instant soup, presumably for her lunch. When she opened
the door, the wind caught it and blew it open, and the gust blew some napkins
and cup lids into the air, and one of the employees said “Wind storm!” and I had
a sad vision of her saying that everytime a few lids were blown into the air.
It looked like a nice sunny day, so we decided to eat at one of the tables
outside. As soon as we sat down in the middle of a sea of pavement, we realized
how windy it was, but we decided we could weather the nuisance. We had a nice
clear view of the South San Francisco sign in one direction.
A plane taking off from SFO passed over us, its shadow making it even colder
for a second and its sound eclipsing the sound of the rattling fan of an air
conditioner which had just kicked in at Arby’s. And a few seconds later, the
wind caused one of the metal umbrellas to start spinning around and squeaking
loudly. The squeak of the spinning death blade and the rattle of the air
conditioner continued intermittently for the rest of the meal.
Once we finished our meal, we undertook an expedition to find out why the
back half of the parking lot was barricaded off. The barricades only served to
keep a car from driving around the back of the building, and the only thing we
found back there were the bathrooms. We walked over to the short concrete wall
at the back of the parking lot to see what was on the other side behind the
shrubbery that stuck up a few feet above the wall.
Tyler hopped onto the top of the wall and peered over the hedge to see
someone’s back yard — about 30 feet below. I looked down between the wall and
the hedge and noticed that it was actually a 30 foot tall hedge, and then I
looked up at tyler, his toes sticking over the edge of the wall, the wind at his
back, and the only thing between him and doom was that plant. He obviously
still thought the hedge was in a flower bed that started level with the parking
lot I was standing on, because that’s what it looked like.
“You uh, might want to get down from there.” I suggested.
It almost made me wish I was eating lunch in San Mateo.
(This was an attempt at a setting sketch. I’m not sure how well it really
described the environment, though.)