I decided to exit and check out the town. Not only because of the small town atmosphere where I wanted to get myself a cup of coffee. There was more. I wanted to get an idea of why this part of the world was once home to the notorious Jim Jones.
I have hazy recollections of the news report of the cult-suicide in The Hindu, back when I was a teenager curious to understand the world. I am pretty sure that it was thanks to that cult and the suicide that I came to know about two things: Kool-Aid and Guyana. Years later, I had a classmate in graduate school who was from Guyana--she was of Indian descent, and I always found it interesting when she introduced herself as an East Indian. Little did I know about the history behind that usage!
I parked across the courthouse along the main street. Perhaps because of the background curiosity about Jim Jones, I worried that it was a bad idea. But, I ventured. When I saw a building with an interesting cupola, I got excited about the stories that I might discover for myself. I clicked.
A marker on the side noted that the building is from 1889. Unlike the long history of the old country, here even a building from 1889 has historic value. After walking a couple of blocks, I decided to drive around. Which is when all my troubles began.
A couple of blocks away, a driver reversing the car out of the angled parking space on the street almost rammed into my vehicle. Phew!
Another couple of blocks later, I came to a stop at the intersection, and then proceeded along. I heard somebody yelling. "Hey, asshole!" Really? Me an asshole? I merely blog about them ;)
I noticed a man on a bicycle furiously pedaling behind me and yelling at the same time. I wondered whether I should flee or stop to listen to him. Stupid me I chose the latter.
I lowered the window.
"You didn't stop at the stop sign, asshole. You could have hit me or somebody." He seemed about a decade older than me.
I did stop. There was another vehicle that came to a stop at the intersection 90 degrees to my right. I then slowly entered the intersection. My guess is that this cyclist was hidden from my view by the larger vehicle.
But, I didn't bother explaining all these to him. "Sorry" is all I said as I released my foot off the brake pedal.
"What a way to fuck up" was his parting comment.
Two incidents within a couple of blocks was enough for me. I decided to leave town before anything really ugly happened.
Maybe Jim Jones' crazy spirit is alive and well in Ukiah! Make sure you don't drink the Kool-Aid there ;)
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