Amblin’ Alameda: Encinal Avenue, Heading West

Amblin’ Alameda: Encinal Avenue, Heading West

Morton Chalfy

It's mid-March, and we're seeing some just outstandingly beautiful days. While the folks back East are enjoying the usual mid-March super storms which dump tons of heavy, wet snow on everything and everybody and make living extra-hard work, we’re having a mini-summer stretch. Oh well, we’ll just have to suffer through it.

This late morning, instead of walking along the shoreline as is my usual wont, I headed west on Encinal Avenue toward Simon Says, the beauty parlor frequented by my sweetie. She was already there being beautified by Diana Simon’s magic and I decided to meet her there to continue our day.

Encinal Avenue is interesting in many ways. First, there’s the eclectic mix of architecture and personalization exhibited by the housing stock. Every 25-foot lot has been customized to suit the inhabitants and some of the designs are “stop and take a closer look” worthy. Then there are the breaks in the action offered by the commercial blocks. Not a chain store among them, these collections of mom and pop stores (or mom and sis, or pop and friend but you get the idea) may be loosely based on a general concept but each interpretation is unique and individual. And interesting.

Pedestrian traffic is light and to my dismay, guarded. In fact the only smile and nod I received from those I passed going in the opposite direction was from one gentleman in the slowest motorized wheel chair I’d ever seen in action. Inching along, as it were, he still flashed a grin of camaraderie, an “ain’t it a nice day for being out in it?” sort of grin and I hope my answering expression mirrored his. But he was the exception. When foot traffic is light every oncoming person can be interpreted as a possible threat so the lack of eye contact is understandable. I try hard to appear non-threatening on my walks but one has no control over the thoughts of others.

Fortunately the lack of friendly greetings didn’t dampen the pleasures of the stroll. Temperature in the 70s, sky in pure blue with touches of cottony clouds and the bodily pleasure of swinging the legs and breathing the air.

Amblin’ Alameda is fun on the most basic level of enjoyment. It makes me feel like a kid “just running around” for the pleasure of it.