There goes the neighborhood

About a block from my sketchy apartment is a sketchy but popular 7-11. Next door to the 7-11, ever since I moved here, was Rita's Place. Rita's Place was your typical dirt-cheap, nasty-ass... I can't even call it a diner. "Food-serving type establishment." The menu behind the counter advertised cheeseburgers for something like $1.85 (so you know it's high quality).

Rita's Place was always dark, always gross looking, and according to the sign on the door, usually always "cerrado." Which, if Sesame Street taught me anything, is not good for business. Over the past two years I kept threatening to eat lunch there, or have our anniversary dinner there, etc.

Sadly, I missed my chance. Rita's Place is no more; it has been replaced by...

Wesley Clark campaign headquarters?!

That just came out of nowhere. Some day last week, the dingy, dark diner was replaced by the brightly lit Clark camp. And they're there all the time; I'll walk by at odd hours of the evening/night, and people will be in there working the phones, with news on the TV. Fortunately for them they have a 24-hour convenience store next door. Perhaps that's by design.

Anyway, it's weird, but in a funny way. The neighborhood's just not sketchy enough with Gen. Clark around. It just doesn't fit; you've got the 7-11, the psychic lady who advertises $10 palm readings, the myriad small-scale used-car dealerships that presumably prey on the Hispanic population; and Gen. Clark., with his little volunteers skittering around.

But will they serve me a $1.85 cheeseburger?

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