Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Mission Possible

It’s 5 PM. The Solano Stroll ends in an hour. Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to make the full rounds of the Stroll. To make sure you actually enjoy the experience, you have the following objectives:

  1. Talk to someone.
  2. Try something new.
  3. Indulge in something frivolous.

The Stroll will self-destruct in one hour. Cue the music.

5:10 PM. I see X, a friend from Cory. She’s there with someone, and we chat for a few minutes. X gives me my first clue.

X: You should get dinner here. There’s a lot of good food.

Me: Thanks.

Objective 1 accomplished.

5:20 PM. I’m halfway to San Pablo. Garlic fries and funnel cake stands are omnipresent. Where’s the “good food”? I start walking faster. A band plays music on one block, which fades out a couple blocks later as another band’s music fades in.

5:25 PM. The cars featured in the morning’s parade are parked underneath the BART tracks. People are relaxing underneath them. San Pablo is near.

5:30 PM. San Pablo is visible. There are a bunch of slides and other diversions available. Belly-dancers are dancing by Cafe Raj. What’s Rendez Vous? Oh, it’s a new restaurant on Solano. Wait! Did I say “new”? Their street vendor menu lists a potential Objective 2: Eggplant Sandwich with Aioli. I request one. The vendor says he needs to run back into the restaurant to get one.

5:35 PM. I now hold the sandwich and starting eating. Something new. Objective 2 accomplished, with a slight mayo aftertaste in my mouth. Oh, well. At least there’s plenty of time to complete my mission.

5:45 PM. There is a distraction ahead. The distraction goes by the name Kippy Marks, the improvising violinist. Improviolinist. I am enchanted. Locked in the magestic trance of that violin. Can’t turn myself away. Need to keep moving. 

5:50 PM. A person taping Kippy Marks’s performance obstructs my view, and the spell is temporarily broken. I make a dash for it, trying to complete my mission. There’s another funnel cake stand, but the line is long, and funnel cake isn’t quite an indulgence.

5:55 PM. The stand reads, “Strawberry Desserts” in script lettering. I order a strawberry shortcake and return to the apartment.

5:59 PM. A bowl that once contained strawberry shortcake is now empty. Mission accomplished. Who says the last minute should be tense?

6:00 PM. Outside my window, a police officer shouts:

Get on the sidewalk. The Stroll is over! We need to get cars in here.


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