In southwestern Virginia, you knew things were getting sketchy if you passed in quick succession – liquor store, church, payday loan store, liquor store, church. I don’t know what the Sketchy Neighborhood Formula is in northern California, but this little strip we’re driving through looks interesting. It’s got the liquor stores, 7-11s, and the requisite crumbling infrastructure.
But the vibe seems too upbeat, too quirky…
Two people walk by with brilliant colored checkered shirts. Just over the top of the hedge, a white cowboy hat is bobbing up and down. A cowboy emerges in a blue long sleeved shirt, a guitar slung across his back like a rifle. He walks slowly toward Mi Tienda Linda with the sort of saunter you can only pull off in decorative boots.
A motorcycle zooms by, bright blue. There’s a man in a generous beard puttering away in a tiny red car, talking to himself. Two ladies in a midnight purple Camaro, top down, palm tree in the background.
A girl walks by in a faded red dress layered with multicolored fabric skirts just brushing the ground. She wears a hygienic paper mask and sunglasses, hair pulled back. She’s carrying some sort of sign (couldn’t read). Bohemian protester?
Suddenly there’s a Pet Smart and a Taco Bell. Do sketchy neighborhoods have Pet Smarts and Taco Bells? Every time I see a Taco Bell, a tiny inner voice asks, “do I want a taco right now?”
The answer is always “yes”.