When I told people we moved to Point Richmond, I received one of two responses. It was either “It’s a hidden gem,” if they’d been here before; otherwise it was “Richmond?” followed by a look of “!” “!” and then silence. So similar to when we sold our place in San Francisco’s SOMA over ten years ago and bought in Oakland. No one we knew had visited the Jack London District but when we had them over for a picnic and petanque, French boules, on the waterfront, they speculated about moving there themselves.
When I said we bought a house, some people said “what about downsizing?” I suppose we’re of the age but a strange comment as we had sold a small condo. They changed their tune when they came over and saw the view of San Francisco Bay from our living room, saw the garden, and drove through the charming village with its cafes, restaurants, the branch library, community center, and even a small hotel.
It is not utopia. I’ve seen one panhandler – a middle aged white woman. People have complained on-line about her aggressiveness. As far as I can tell, she is not homeless, just raising funds for her next drink. I’m used to the heart wrenching sight of groups or crowds of homeless but I still do feel for her.
I prefer public transportation to driving a car – I like to be out with the people. I’ve taken buses to the Point from the El Cerrito Del Norte station many times. I refer to the route 40 bus, headed to San Rafael, as my limousine. Courteous, pleasant driver, upholstered seats, and it is nearly empty even during the evening rush hour. People get on the bus who do not have the funds to pay for the ride. Through the generosity of a stranger, they arrive at their destination.
Yesterday I rode an AC Transit bus which stopped at the Richmond BART before heading to the Point. It had hard plastic blue seats, I would not call it my limo. I wanted to make a donation to everyone who got on. It melts your heart. Only one other person got off at Point Richmond – we were the last two on the bus. Others exited along the route. There was a mother and child heading to Kaiser Hospital, I hope they are OK. So there is a disparity of wealth, of abundance here in Richmond- just like there was in San Francisco, just like there was in Oakland. Just like there is everywhere?