Yes, Sacramento has its perks and drawbacks, but nothing compares to horrible Downtown Sacramento.
I usually avoid downtown, and I don’t go there very often, especially because I live in El Dorado Hills. But there have been times when I have no choice.
For example, over the summer I went to lunch at The Old Spaghetti Factory with my boss and a Stanford student.
The reservation was at 1 p.m, and I left Sac State at noon. The drive is supposed to take about 10 minutes.
I got to the restaurant at 1:30 p.m.
And it wasn’t my fault. It was downtown’s.
Parking in downtown is nearly impossible. First of all, I don’t know how to parallel park, so that already sets me in a harder position for finding parking spots.
Second, there are too many bikers.
Third, why are there so many one-way streets?
And fourth, every street looks the same.
On the day of the lunch, I spent half an hour driving in circles, trying to find a parking spot. I finally found one and parked. Then all of a sudden I heard a loud thump on the back of my Prius as I was getting out of the car.
A lady started screaming at me and insisting that I had hit her. But I hadn’t. I was already parked and she hit me with her bike.
More scared than I had ever been, I locked my car and ran as she continued to yell and curse at me.
As I was running, I made sure to take a picture of my car so I would know where I parked.
After the lunch I headed back to my car. I looked at the blurry picture I took and realized I had no idea where I parked.
I must have walked for about 45 minutes before I realized that it was pointless and I was lost.
So I navigated my way back to The Old Spaghetti Factory and again tried to find my way back to where I parked with no guidance except from a blurry picture.
Thirty minutes later I found my car and headed home.
I still don’t know how I ended up finding it.
And now for my most recent adventure with Downtown Sac.
I had a college interview with a Stanford alumna on Nov. 20, and she wanted to meet at The Fox & Goose. I had never heard of the restaurant, but when I searched it on Google, the first thing I noticed was its location: Downtown Sacramento.
Instead of asking if she would be willing to meet somewhere else because of my hatred for Downtown Sac, I arranged to meet her there at 11 a.m.
I got to R Street at 10:30 because I knew it would be hard for me to find a parking spot. And I was right.
Again I went in circles and unsurprisingly had no luck.
Then I decided to try a different route, hoping to find a spot and not be late to my interview.
I got to a stoplight and turned right, and once I did I noticed a big red sign that said “Do Not Enter.”
At that moment I realized I had to get out of there as fast as possible, but I couldn’t make a U-turn.
There were train tracks all around me and then I connected the dots to why this area was a Do-Not-Enter zone.
I looked in front of me, and I saw a train heading in my direction.
But then my killer-driving instincts kicked in, and I decided it would be the best idea to reverse to get out of the way. I looked up at my rear-view mirror and was ready to reverse. But then I saw a train heading toward me from the back.
At first I thought it was just a reflection of the train in front of me, but, no, there were indeed two trains about to crash into me.
I was stuck and didn’t know what to do. Drivers education definitely didn’t prepare me for this scenario.
At that moment I sat there hoping that the train conductors would notice me inside my Prius and throw on their emergency brakes.
But it didn’t look like the trains were stopping, and time was running out.
Then I saw a tall and narrow platform to the left of me, and I accelerated as fast as I could onto it, hoping that the Prius could get to the top and fit.
And it did.
From that platform I watched the two trains pass each other in disbelief of how close I came to death.
For a solid five minutes, I sat in the Prius and cried. Then I looked at the clock and saw it was 10:55 a.m.
I couldn’t be late for my interview.
Driving out of the Do-Not-Enter area, I made my way back toward The Fox & Goose.
I found parking right away in a 90-minute zone, walked into the restaurant and saw my interviewer.
“How’s your day going?” she asked immediately.
“It’s been pretty good,” I said, hoping she didn’t notice the redness of my eyes from crying. “But it was a little hard to find parking.”
Then the interview began.
Overall, Downtown Sacramento might possibly be the place that I hate most in this world.