The Story of a Tiny Piece of Pavement

My husband and I used to live in a little bitty house on what was designated as a “private” street – which, as far as we could tell, meant that we owned both the house and the pavement in front of it. Not sure why.

This fact was totally irrelevant to us until right before we moved out.

We were the first house on the street, which connected to the busy (and only) main drag. There was Jack in the Box, and then there was us.

One day out of nowhere a lady I had never seen, who I guess lived farther down the private street (being the first house and having no lives because we worked all the time we’d had no reason to go down there), decided that she needed to stop people from driving too fast.

And so she appeared in the middle of the street, armed with a batch of those little yellow bump things used to show where lanes are.

She then began sticking them down in a disorganized blob on the asphalt. My husband cruised out there to talk to her. That’s how we learned of her deep traffic concerns.

Our bedroom was in the front of the house. So now, we got to listen to tires go over bumpy things all night.

We pondered going out there with a crowbar and prying the bumps back off, but we were literally moving out I think the next day. The house was sold, the movers were coming. My husband and I looked at each other, and our 11-month-old baby, and determined we had no craps to give about this.

Thirteen years later, the thought of that weird little spot crept back into my mind. I wondered what ever happened to the blob of bumps. Were they still there? Had the life of traffic been forever changed? I had to know. So on a fall evening I drove over there, parked, walked into the middle of the street, and took a look.

Here’s what it looks like now:Photo Nov 16, 4 33 23 PM

You can still see where most of the things were glued down. No idea if they just came off over time or if somebody – maybe the next owners after many nights of listening to people drive over them – marched out there and performed some demolition.

But how weird is it that I and maybe two other people know why this spot looks this way? It reminds me of one of my favorite spots in San Francisco:


“Mr. Fong goes to lunch” is on a tiny island across the street from the Transamerica Pyramid and has been there for decades. I discovered it for the first time I think in the early 1990s. I make a point to visit it whenever I walk to North Beach.

Is there a spot on this Earth that only you understand? You are the only person in creation who knows how it got that way? Tell about it here or at the Drooly Dog Facebook group because we must know.

Drooly Dog is a storytelling project run by Betsy Streeter.