IN A FOG
28 July 2005
It's not easy to "lose" one of the biggest warehouse stores in Northern California, but I managed to do it for about an hour today.
This was the night of our 18th annual Gilbert dinner and I was meeting the G.R.U.B. committee at a Korean restaurant in San Francisco. Since the a/c is still not working here at home (though someone is coming to check it out tomorrow--yay!), and since I'd found a CD tower that looked pretty good on line, and since people keep asking me, incredulously, "you haven't been to IKEA?" like it was some sort of terrible sin, I decided I'd head for Fog Land, stop on the way at Ikea in Emeryville and check out the tower, then drive to SF, find the restaurant, find a place to park, and read my book in the cool air until time to meet the others. We were meeting at 7 and eating at 7:30. I left the house at 3:30. It's an hour and a half drive to San Francisco.
Traffic was fairly light until I hit Berkeley and then it was bumper to bumper so, since I had time to spare, I decided to just get off at University Avenue and drive down San Pablo Avenue to Emeryville and then pop over to Ikea. Easy. I mean, I lived in this area for years and, though Emeryville was quite different at that time, surely I could find a store the size (and color!) of Ikea, which parallels the freeway, without too much difficulty.
I wended my way expertly through the streets, finding "the right kind of houses," and certain that Ikea was just over there beyond the next warehouse.
Only it wasn't. Wherever I turned, it seemed to be in the wrong direction. The place just wasn't there at all. What should have taken me 15-20 minutes took a full hour before I finally found the store (see Photo of the Day).
Next was parking. Unfamiliar with the system, I missed the entrance to the parking lot and got caught in one-way streets that took me farther and farther from the store yet again.
Finally I was parked and actually inside the store. Only I didn't know the drill. I stood in the stark lobby looking for a cart, and then followed a turn in the corridor only to find myself at a dead end. Another couple was wandering around looking lost too. We finally all decided to try the escalator (leaving the cart behind, of course).
Well, now things were looking promising. There was "stuff" up here and a sign that suggested I take a cart because "your arms will be full very soon."
Not hardly. I went through the baby stuff and the glassware and cutlery stuff, the rug department, the bedding department, but I didn't see anything resembling what I wanted, which was a nice case to house my CDs. I decided to try downstairs again.
Here I finally hit pay dirt: the warehouse!
I actually finally found the tower that I'd seen in the catalog, but only in the box, which made me realize that I probably was supposed to find it upstairs to see if it looked like something I wanted to spend $40 on, and then take down the catalog number to pick up out of the warehouse. But by now it was too late to go back upstairs and besides, the box was much too heavy for me to carry. So much for planning ahead.
My next trick was to find the freeway. It might be tricky....
(the photo was taken from in front of Ikea). Even though I could plainly see the freeway, there was every possibility that with one way streets I'd miss it, but thankfully, I did not, though I was routed way to hell and gone on overpasses I'd never seen before.
Eventually I was on the bridge and headed for San Francisco, where all I had to do was find a place to park. I didn't expect that the place would be smack dab in the middle of the bridge itself.
Traffic was horrendous, exceeded only by town traffic trying to get out to the other end of town, 46th and Judah Street. (Will couldn't have chosen a farther restaurant unless he'd found something out on the Farallon Islands!)
It was 7:30 before I found the restaurant and another 15 minutes before I found a parking place, but at least I did make it--eventually. And it had only taken me 3 hours from the time I left home.
I didn't get the CD tower and I didnt make it to dinner on time, and I arrived frazzled, missing cocktail hour and hors d'oeuvres, but it was all worth it when I saw this....
When it's 100 degrees in Davis, there is nothing that makes me happier than to see a fog bank rolling down the hills into San Francisco. I was actually cold. Delicious! I hated to come home.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Ikea - Emeryville, CA