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BARRIERS ---- I had this job one summer where I delivered eggs to omelet shops, small groceries, bakeries and such on the East side of the San Francisco Bay. It was a crazy job fraught with difficulties and adventure. You would think the most difficult place to make deliveries would be Berkley because of all the one way streets….and because of the colorful people, but the truth is, I ran into more problems in the city of Oakland.


In Oakland there always seemed to be a road closed, an accident, or hundreds of orange traffic cones funneling traffic from five lanes to one lane, and for absolutely no apparent reason. I typically would finish all that merging from five lanes down to one, travel for a mile or so in the one restricted lane lined on each side by orange cones and then back to five lanes. There was no construction, there was no accident, there was no maintenance, no workers, no trucks - just a lot of orange traffic cones. I could never figure it out.


So when I was in Oakland, I was always trying to find my way around these barriers, roadblocks and bottlenecks.


One afternoon I was making a delivery to this small grocery store near Lake Merritt - this is the small grocery store where the guy always feigned to be out of cash and every time asked to pay for the eggs, “next time around.” So we would have this little conversation about actually paying for the eggs next time around and my time there always ended with me taking back the eggs to the van where I would be met by the guy who had somehow “found” the exact amount of cash needed. Same routine, every time without fail.


Well, one afternoon it took me about a half an hour to pick my way through the parking lot to this small grocery store, it was exhausting. When I was done with my delivery and the whole “I’m out of money thing” with the guy who ran the grocery, I could see that going out of the parking lot the same way I came in, was out of the question.


Then, over to my right I saw traffic moving briskly through the nearby parking garage and I could see that that was my ticket out of there. The problem was, when my boss trained me on the egg route, he told me, “Under no circumstances, ever drive the egg van into that parking garage.” My boss never told me why, he was just very adamant that I never enter the parking garage.


Well, this was Oakland California, so I figured the boss didn’t want me to go into the parking garage because it was a place where I could easily get robbed, mugged, or held up. I looked around me, it was broad daylight, about two in the afternoon, there were people everywhere - I would be perfectly safe in the parking garage.


So, I got into the egg van and headed for the parking garage.


There was a long line of traffic heading into the parking garage, but it was moving right along and I knew I would be through it quickly. All I had to do was drive through the first floor and out into the city street. So I entered the parking garage.


Everything was going smoothly, I was almost through the garage, there were only four cars in front of me….and that’s when I hear this loud screeching sound, and the egg van came to a complete stop.


The egg van was too tall for the parking garage. I was now stuck in this parking garage, the parking garage I was never to enter by the way, and there was a long line of cars behind me. The cars behind me started sounding their horns.


I saw that I could not go forward, I could only go backward. So I got out of the van and explained the situation to the drivers behind me. They graciously moved out of the way, but by the time I got back into the van a new line of different cars were behind the egg van honking at me. This went on for over 45 minutes, but I eventually was able to back out of the parking garage.


Later that week, I had a call from my boss checking up on how things were going. He said, “I heard about the parking garage in Oakland. You made quite a scene I hear.” I admitted my folly and explained how difficult it was to get out of the situation.


My boss just laughed. He said that the reason he told me to never go into the parking garage was that the exact same thing happened to the last guy who had the job. He got the van stuck in the exact same place I did months before, but the last guy didn’t cause all the commotion that I did. I asked, “What did the guy do to get out of the garage? How did he get out of the garage without causing commotion?”


“Dan just let some air out of the tires. Then, Dan drove right out of the parking garage and went on his way.”


When the egg van was stuck in the garage I didn’t see anyway to get around the roadblock I had created, but there was a way, all I had to do was let a little air out of the tires. There was a way around the barrier I created.

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