Words and photo by Darcy Stein
My husband and I share one car. While you may have all just gasped aloud — Anchorage being the driving city it is — this actually works for us. As us Spenardians know, one of the many perks of our cool, quirky hood is location, location, location. The places we frequent the most are relatively close by and coupled with the occasional Uber or Lyft ride, it all works out okay in the end. Also… one car payment, a decreased carbon footprint and sometimes you actually work up quite a sweat walking. Win, win and winning some more.
So now that you know all that, let’s get down to it.
It’s September 22 at 3:48 p.m. I’m walking from Anchorage Yoga back to the very small, yet adorable house my husband and I rent in the Woodland Park pocket of Spenard. I turn onto 36th Avenue, going towards Minnesota from Arctic with a London Fog in hand, giant gold wireless Beats headphones around my neck just waiting to be switched on. Before I can press the play button, I immediately noticed a very small, turquoise-esque compact car barreling down the road towards the light on 36th and Arctic. I swear I can hear music, even though the car is nowhere yet near me.
As the car comes closer towards 36th, the picture begins to become a little clearer. There’s a young girl driving, belting out what I can only make out as Beyonce lyrics, in the most epically loud manner. All of her windows are down, and she is going to town on the song. She flies by on the left of me and all I can do is yell after her:
“GET IT GIRL!!!”
I smile, hit play on my Pandora, and continue on my way. Now I’m crossing Cope Street when all of a sudden I hear some gravel shuffling behind me. I turn around to see a dark-colored Civic-type car and a dude in the driver’s seat. His window is rolled down and his mouth is moving, so I lift the right headphone away from my ear.
“Need a ride?” he asks.
Certainly, this has got to be a joke. Do guys really just pull up to women walking down the street and ask if they need a ride? Does this guy think I’m a prostitute? Do prostitutes wear wireless headphones? All of these questions going through my head at once. Instead of verbally responding, all I can do is start laughing. I turn back around, put my right headphones back on, and resume my listening pleasure.
I continue walking towards 36th. A few moments later, I hear another noise. The jangle of keys landing on the pavement.
A mysterious set of what I can only guess is storage locker keys land to the left of my feet. I can’t be sure if a car just recently passed me and in a passionate rage, discarded them out of the window, or Civic dude was pissed I rejected his bizarre offer, or what.
Regardless, here are these keys laid out in front of me. I’m reminded of this Jonathan Safran Foer novel I read years ago. He finds this key and unravels a whole mysterious adventure. So I pick them up to examine them a little more closely. I notice the keychain says Sara Lee, and I’m like, the crappy bread brand? Oh hell nah. I immediately drop them back on the ground. I remember I’m in Spenard, and not in New York City, where the novel takes place, and that these keys probably go to Best Storage West.
I roll my eyes and continue on my way, but not before snapping a photo of said keys as proof that this was probably one of the most interesting walks I’ve had in a while.