All they wanted was San Jose Sharks shirts.
Which seems an easy get, right? Dad’s in San Jose. Spending his day in the SAP Center, where the San Jose Sharks play, for Patrick Marleau’s sake.
Except, it wasn’t easy. At all.
And that makes a simple task an adventure, right? There were moments: Some are captured in these pictures, others, like the mom who tipped her beer bottle to me as I walked by (and she finished her yard work just before sundown), in my mind only.
I walked 5 miles roundtrip. My arrival back at the Fairmont came at 9 p.m. local time, but midnight EST. I was out of batteries, toting a backpack crammed with food and other staples. I stopped on a stoop with other vagrants to repack my pack.
They nodded and smiled.
It started out this way. Yes! This cheeseburger’s equivalents were:
For cars, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro Z28
For albums, Appetite for Destruction, Guns & Roses
For Frasier’s girlfriends on Frasier? Charlotte Connor, of course.
Let’s get on with the walk.
The view right outside the SAP Center. Picturesque, yet touristesque. I was about to get a real taste of St. Joe’s.
Google stylized it for me. This stylization brings us back to the 1920s – well, except for the signal lights and fuel-efficient Hyundai in the foreground.
I’m horrible with flower identification. Like, I can tell you the difference between the 1968 and 1969 Colts uniform. But flowers? I couldn’t tell you what this was even if Amy Acker promised to share a calzone with me for a correct answer. Pretty, though.
I almost sat on this! Kidding. Cool though, isn’t it? It was just around the corner from a Catholic school with soccer fields on hard courts. I wonder how my teams would do against these teams. On these courts.
I almost sat on this … again, I kid. Isn’t he cool? He was painted on the side of a box on the side of the road. I nearly missed him. I’m not sure, but I don’t think any real flying reptiles with four eyes have been discovered. Yet.
Speaking of dinosaurs … this one’s a beauty. I don’t even know what it is, but with a paint job, some new upholstery, a dab of wax … well, all of us from yesterday could shine with a little TLC. Even me.
No filter. This purple is near as majestic as the one in the Colorado Rockies’ uniforms. This iPhone my girls gave me for Father’s Day rocks. I wouldn’t have come home from San Jose without it.
Even when the walk turned out of the neighborhoods and into the wastelands, there were cool colors. The yellow says yuck. I know! I did a double-take, too. I felt the color palate called to mind a mid-90s pop motif. (I didn’t loiter).
I stopped in for a Coke Zero, because of course. I should have bought a lotto ticket, or maybe one of those skinny cigars in the cellophane. They didn’t have root beer flavor, though. At this point, I felt I had plenty of sunlight. Plenty.
Wal-mart was another world. I’ve never been to a Turkish bazaar. This was close, I reckon. Babies cried in a thousand languages. There was no Wi-Fi. In Silicon Valley. And there was this. It wasn’t real. But it was an omen. Beware, all who enter …
# # #
All the girls wanted was San Jose Sharks shirts.
Long-sleeved, they said. The Sharks have fantastic colors – black and teal. They bear a fierce logo and even skate onto the ice out of a shark’s jaws, a shark with flaming red eyes and everything. Sharks are just badass, you know?
This Wal-mart, though … the one with sardine-can-tight aisles and dodgers fans everywhere and cosmetics under lock and key, it has zero Sharks shirts. ZERO. Plenty of Golden State Warriors championship gear, though.
I’m from Charlotte. I can get all the Warriors gear in my own Wal-mart! #ThanksStephCurry
I got a San Jose State T-shirt for myself. (They didn’t have the girls’ sizes.) And I made it back without incident, getting the aforementioned beer-bottle tip and smile from the mom in the yard.
My dogs were tired and I was hungry. So I settled on this.
This little joint lets you put whatever ground-up candy you want in your milkshake. And seasoning for your criss cut fries. (They’re waffle fries east of the Mississippi.)
# # #
I settled on sweatshirts for the girls from Santa Cruz Pier. They were cool. I picked them in 3 minutes flat and had to pay 20 cents extra for the plastic bag because it’s California.
Sitting around in a meeting after coming back to Charlotte, a guy asked me, say, weren’t you looking for Sharks stuff? Did you ever get any?
Instinctively I told the story but at about the time I got to the point where I was battling cacti and eight-eyed pterosaurs, he said, I know a guy who has some extra stuff. They just gave it to him in the area.
No problem, man. One dude asked on the last day, you walked HOW far to get your kids shit? Man, I’d have never done that. Well, friend, I didn’t want to let them down. I get on a mission for these kids, I get a narrow focus.
All they wanted was Sharks shirts.
Have I mentioned the cool logo?
What about you? Which is your favorite photo? What do you see walking around your town?