Sanctuary: “State Anthem of the USSR” on my sidewalk.



Ahh, city living.  It’s amazing what seemingly meaningless, insignificant-in-the-grand-scheme-of-things things prove themselves invaluable when living on a speck of San Francisco land approximately the size of a basketball court.  

Take the “firebrick red” and “sunglow gold” stripe of paint captured in my photo above.  This sweet piece of Jesus is hard to come by in the City of San Francisco.  Maybe it is equally sweet, righteous, and elusive in other cities.  I can’t speak to that.  Here in San Francisco, for the bargain basement price of $130, you too can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a driveway properly protected by six inches of official sidewalk paint.  

And as an extra bonus, what home would not benefit from a nice splash of curbside color reminiscent of the former Soviet Union’s red star hammer and sickle?


I’ve always had a thing for Sergey Mikhalkov’s “State Anthem of the USSR,” and now I have this handy visual prompt to remind me of that catchy little ditty a dozen or so times each day.  So I’ve got that going for me now; which is nice. 

Honestly, though?  I don’t care if the end result of San Francisco’s Official “Curb Painting Process” was a splash of Hockney, striped with the Minnesota Viking colors, or “King of the Hill” red and white polka-dotted. Small price to pay for raising two kids and a dog in the city, trying to keep (politely) sharp elbows protecting our tiny plot of poised-for-liquefaction heaven.

You see, my wife and I had long grown weary of shoe-horning our car through the impossibly narrow space between the car bumpers in our rear view and side view mirrors at the end of our driveway.  Juggling the distractions of a looming Little League practice, sons ripping in competition at a bag of Goldfish in the back seat, a puppy demanding an immediate belly-scratch via a firm paw pushing down on a wrist desperately trying to preserve that wrist’s purchase on the steering wheel’s 3 o’clock position, slipping in a click of the garage door opener (closer?) somewhere in the midst of this chaos to ensure our fortress is impenetrable — none of these things are part of the proper recipe for defensive driving.  

Instead, cringing, we blindly nudged our own car’s rear end out into our quiet street, hoping the passersby would see us and come to a gradual, sympathetic stop.  Fully prepared to overdo the obligatory wave of the hand and forced-friendly smile, acknowledging the other driver’s observance of driveway etiquette.  Even if raising a waving meant a scratch from Wailea’s nails, since that hand is supposed to be scratching her belly in the passenger seat, not following some unwritten rule of the city living code.  

On more than one occasion, we were nearly t-boned by a passing car.  Stomping on our brakes and suddenly halting our backward progress, the pup lurching backwards, the Goldfish bag ripping and spilling its contents on the backseat, the random gathering of baseballs in the trunk rolling about frenetically like billiard balls sunk in corner pockets and rolling back to the start position within the pool table’s unseen innards.  Screech. 

That life-flashing-before-your-eyes experience gets old in a hurry.  The quick mental calculus can be debilitating: “Had I not took the time to fill that Sigg bottle to the top, we would have been smashed to smithereens.”  Not to mention, on this point, how far back do I go?  Should I give myself a congratulatory slap on the back, 27 years after oversleeping on my Psych 101 Final at Duke? Sure, I may have taken the exam whilst sitting uncomfortably in the carpeted aisle, hunched over for a couple hours.  But that extra 5 minutes spared my family from certain death years at the end of our driveway in a burning inferno.  Right?  Or perhaps I should thank my stubborn, in utero self. Had I not been born a couple weeks past my due date, the whole Beadling clan expires right there on Beach Street at the end of our little driveway.  No?  

Like I said, debilitating.  

So spare yourself and your family from this same awful fate and the accompanying mental gymnastics.  Get yourself a nice piece of the former Soviet Union (or whatever color scheme applies to your particular municipality).  Small price to pay for sanctuary.  Ahh, city living. 

Thanks for reading.



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