I ducked into Prince Books and Café in a nice old Hopperesque building. I asked my question of a female worker, fortyish, tanned, and wearing shorts, a black T-shirt, and chunk-heeled sandals.
"It is a tough call," she wavered about whether people in Norfolk were isolated. She talked slowly and formally, holding her hands together at her waist and nodding a lot, bouncing the brunette bangs above her green eyes ringed in dark eye shadow. "At night maybe not. But during the day, yes, like when you're in business mode. But at night when you're out and about, you're a little more into what's going on. I think of North Granby and Waterside, where it's a crowd going out and looking for fun, looking to meet people. Actually, in the past about year, they revitalized all the restaurants and homes and things like that. It's become not so desolate. Before, it was homeless or military tourists. Now you actually see people. Not just people, but people coming here to enjoy the area.
"We moved here from Fredericksburg," she explained. "I was getting married, my ex-husband was going to Old Dominion, and we had families from here. It's a good area. It's big without being too big. You've got places like the Chrysler and lots of good venues to see shows and places to go."
Then she frowned, "Between the ragged water's edge and the railroad tracks, it's hard to get anywhere without being cut off. In a way, just getting from one place to another, you're isolated in Norfolk."