Thursday, September 20, 2012

San Francisco Bay Bridge and the parking garage

Source: Google Maps, Street View

Brocklebank Garage - 1040 Sacramento Street

Located on Knob Hill, and fortunately just around the corner from the University Club of San Francisco, this parking garage became the physical location of a recent dramatic comedy in our personal lives. It was a privilege for my wife and I to be attending an evening wedding and reception at the historic University Club on Powell Street. Surely this is San Francisco the way it should be. Much anticipated with reasonable preparations and shared tingles of confident excitement that were no doubt latent younger responses to past similar events blended into the current honorable occasion. It was a calm and beautiful late afternoon on 'The City' side of San Francisco Bay.

Once a vehicle enters the ramps to the San Francisco Bay Bridge from ‘The City’ side, it can be a 30 minute (or more) round trip to the other side of the bay and back. This is what I was telling my wife after I had made a wrong turn and we were in traffic heading out onto the bridge. Now the wedding ceremony was starting in about 25 minutes. We discussed the logistics of parking in San Francisco, walking whatever distance, my wife changing into her high heels at the University Club, and both of us being seated at the ceremony very late -- or worse, missing the ceremony completely.

Yerba Buena and attached man-made Treasure Island were never more useful to us since WWII. We exited the huge bridge onto the small island in San Francisco Bay. U-turned as soon as possible. The view back to The City from the island is beautiful! An insignificant in scale on-ramp back onto the bridge and we were busy giving each other credit for averting possibly big logistical problems just in time. And figuring that someday we'll again return to enjoy more time on that small island. Fact check: some credit to our GPS is deserved for finding an exit in the middle of a bridge.

Powell Street is long, starts down low near Market Street, and climbs with the cable cars to near the top of Knob Hill. Somewhere near Union Square, as we drove up the increasingly steep street toward the University Club, our wonderful son-in-law called to say that the wedding would start soon and that he was holding two seats for us. Our daughter is Matron of Honor in the wedding party. My strategy for parking became: the first parking garage I see after reaching the University Club of San Francisco.

The elegant main entry of the historic venue was on our right. Now is when the personal dramatic comedy actual begins: A hurried left turn over the cable car tracks onto Sacramento and a quick right turn into a public parking garage. We tailgated another car through the open door. Once inside, the other car drove deeper into the structure and soon was turning around. The large split-level garage appeared almost empty of other vehicles or people. Confused apprehension. We noticed the other car was driving out and the large roll up main door was lowing to close as that car crossed the sidewalk out to the street. I finished a U-turn and drove back to the door that did not open again. Parked in a space near the door, the clock was ticking for the ceremony to begin. We were apparently alone and our vehicle was locked in the mostly empty parking garage. Shocked curiosity. In the closed office there was no attendant on duty or "Hours of Operation" posted for Sundays. It was Sunday -- evening.

To be continued (while I interview candidates for a possible editor).

GIVE ME A MOMENT a lifestyle
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