Random Acts of Fruitiness

Map of San Leandro Bay and Doolittle Drive

Map of San Leandro Bay and Doolittle Drive

Bay Farm Island is part of the town of Alameda.  Due to landfill, it’s no longer an actual island, but more of a peninsula on the west side of the San Leandro Bay (which, yes, is part of the larger San Francisco Bay).  Bay Farm Island is also connected to the Oakland Airport along the south side of it.  There’s a long stretch of road (called Doolittle Drive) that starts at the east side of Bay Farm Island, goes past the Oakland Airport, and continues on down into San LeandroIt parallels the path of 880 (a highway that travels along the westernmost side of the East Bay), so Craig and I take it quite often to bypass all the traffic along the highway, often arriving at our destinations much quicker (please see the map for a visual aid).

Anyway, enough of the geographical back story and on to the real reason for today’s blog . . .

Right where the San Leandro Bay ends (on the Oakland Airport side), there’s a small dock that people often fish off of.  On the embankment near that dock there’s a large slice of a watermelon.  This watermelon has been there for the five years I’ve lived in Alameda, and Craig tells me that it’s been there ever since he moved out here, too, about 15 years ago.  It’s only viewable heading north along Doolittle, as it sits low enough on the embankment that it’s obscured for southbound drivers.

This giant slice of watermelon appears to be a piece of junk at first glance.  I remember the first time I saw it, I expected that the city would come and remove it any day, and it would just be this random thing that used to be on the side of the road.  However, when that didn’t happen after several months, the mystery of why this item was here took seed in my mind (no pun intended).

Craig and I made up stories about why it was there–remnant of a high school float was one of them–but more importantly, we just enjoyed seeing it every time we’d drive by.  It was a bright slice of color sitting against an otherwise brown, drab background.

Even Athena started looking for it.  In fact, if we pass by it heading south on Doolittle, she points out exactly where it sits.  And she’s right, every time.

Craig, being the artist that he is, noted once that the color should have faded from this object a long time ago, because apparently red is one of the first colors to fade when exposed to sunlight for any length of time.  And, since this slice of watermelon was sitting out in plain view of the daily sun, he was surprised that it was still as bright as ever.  That’s when we all began to speculate that someone came and repainted it every now and then.

The Watermelon - 002We were passing by it recently, when we noticed that there are now swirls in the red paint, so we knew, beyond a doubt, that someone was, indeed, repainting it to keep the colors vibrant.  That made this item go WAY up in the “cool” quotient, but it also made me wonder more about who was behind the act of renewal.  Much like the unknown visitor of Edgar Allen Poe’s grave site in Baltimore, this mystery painter keeps something alive by coming and repainting this little item.

Since I was going to write this blog on what I now think of as The Watermelon, I decided to go take a picture of it, so I got to see that it’s actually a curved piece of broken cement embankment that was once probably in place to keep the San Leandro Bay from flooding Doolittle Drive.

The Watermelon - 017

I still don’t know the full story behind this, but I’m not sure that I want to, either.  Sometimes, knowing the secrets of a magic trick removes the magical aspect of it; like saying that a Dandelion is “just” a weed.  For now, I’m simply happy to know that it’s not some random piece of trash that will eventually be thrown away.  And I’m even happier that there’s someone out there who chooses to repaint The Watermelon occasionally, so that all who pass by it can have a little bit of cheer to brighten their day.

Do you have any random items along your commute that add a little cheer to your day?


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