There’s a room in my house that smells like abandoned building. I know this, because I’ve been in many, many abandoned buildings. For the past few days San Francisco has had (while not quite “Biblical” as described by some) torrential rains, and the normally warmer drier Mission has seen as much as the rest of town. And I love my apartment; my neighborhood is great despite some evidence to the contrary.
It’s just that the place is a bit of an old girl, you know. She does the job… the job of being inhabited… just, sometimes she shows her age is all. One room at the back of the apartment I call the “project room” (pictured, to the left) despite the fact that no “projects” to speak of have been completed there. We just called it that when we moved in. Besides, it’s easier than calling it the “sitting slash storage slash plant slash kiln room.” It’s actually one of our cooler rooms and used to be outdoors in fact, which is why it has two windows looking in on it from other rooms of the house (err apartment—a personal history of single-family home residency is apparent in my mental constructs). It also doesn’t really hold in warmth too well which makes it not-too-handy for sitting in seats as far as “sitting room” goes, but which is pretty handy when Lynae’s kiln hits the 2400 Fahrenheit mark. Except of course when it rains and water starts coming in under the door, which doesn’t fit because it’s swelled up in the rain. And as far as the rain goes it doesn’t stop at the door. The roof hasn’t started leaking… yet; however, one gets an inkling of why I might notice a little aroma of dilapidation. I think you kind of get the picture here: the room is neat for its uniqueness and its feeling of history, but has its disadvantages as concerns actually taking care of the place.
Well, I did want to live in an abandoned building once. I guess we ought to be careful what we wish for.
It happens to all of us.
I got caught. I was exploring, as I am wont to do, a little-visited and forgotten part of the world. This particular one used to be an old U.S Navy base on the Eastern shore of San Francisco bay: Point Molate. I was there to drop off a certain someone for her certain Dad’s birthday shark fishing trip. I don’t recommend the road unless you use it for offroading. Anyways, coming back in the slight pre-dawn I took a closer look at the rows of oddly placed, identical housing. That’s when I figured that this place was just like the Ord—an old military base that had been decommissioned and left to the elements. That’s what I thought anyways. In the Ord’s case, the place had been partially (and I do mean partially) converted into a college, where quite frankly the coolest thing to study was the Ord itself. Sure—sometimes one has to cross a few barriers to get to somewhere abandoned and cool. It’s best to take a camera in case you can’t again.
So when I found a gate along the way back to civilization, and a smallish turnoff nearby, I was lured in. I sauntered around the edge of the fence and was inside. Seems the City of Richmond has a beachfront park which they keep closed for no good reason. Sure, there are big signs in there nearby the splintering picnic benches and rusted-out trashcans stating “no open fires: high explosive material in adjacent area” but I don’t see that stopping my enjoyment of the place. Finding myself at the the end of the “park” I found myself in front of another gate. To get around the fence (again) it was necessary to get down on the beach and over sea-slippery rocks. Nice views down there of one of the many San Francisco bay bridges, floating away into the morning fog. It’s at this point I see that there’s a gravel path leading around the next bend—a path which is very far and very exposed. Not that there’s much traffic at this hour… but still. I make my way along the path, running some distance and notice that there’s what looks like a house after the bend. And there’s what looks like a guy coming out of the house, and it looks like he’s taking out the trash. And it looks like he sees me. Uh oh…
I turn tail. But it doesn’t really matter as this guy has a truck and to be sure now, he sees me. I’m on foot. I have blue hair. I skirted around two fences to get here in the first place. Turns out that this area now belongs to the Chevron Oil Corporation, although I didn’t find that out right away. No… I was just asked what the hell I was doing there. I answered honestly: I was taking pictures. And I said “I just walked around. I didn’t break and enter or anything. Just wanted to see what was here.” The guy gave me a long look, and I guess that was the right answer because he told me alright, I just needed to go now. He sped on ahead to the gate and I walked along behind (didn’t really see the need to jog anymore). As I began clambering down the rocks to the sea, I heard the guy call out “you be careful now. Take care.” Of course, I didn’t really know if he meant climbing on those rocks, or going places I shouldn’t, or exploring the world in general or living my life to the fullest or whatever, so I answered back in a way that fit all of them: “Thank you. I will. Thank you.” And then I got the hell out.