Why living in San Diego is better than being James Lileks
I could feel the rain and the wind before I opened my eyes; the house was cool and damp. I hoped it would be in the mid 40s, at least; the battleâ€™s not lost if youâ€™re still in the 40s. Gnat woke me by pulling up the shades, and there it was: the big green world hiding behind a scrim of fog and drizzle. I checked the temp.
Thirty four. Two mere degrees from snow. I turned on the fireplace and made breakfast. We looked at the newspaper, talked about the day to come. The morning passed quickly â€“ Jasper went to the door to go outside; he stuck his head out, sniffed, and went back in. Interesting little act of judgment: sure, I could take a leak, but is it worth it? Letâ€™s wait. Dogs can do cost-benefit analysis if required. Just doesnâ€™t often come up.
Lunch. Peanut butter sandwich with the crusts trimmed off. (She wonâ€™t eat Uncrustables any more, which is fine. I donâ€™t know what that stuff is, but itâ€™s not bread. More like finely spun Styrofoam. Even then she would ask for the crust of the Uncrustables to removed, which presents an almost Zen dilemma. Does the crustless sandwhich not have a crust of its own, in a way? Yes, says the four-and-a-half year old.) I had a peanut-butter sandwhich of my own.
It was seventy-eight here today and after picking Casey up from school we had our usual Thursday sushi lunch at Tokyo House at the corner of Garnet and Cass in Pacific Beach and watched the parade of young skin that’s appearing like crocuses through the snow, not that we know what snow is much less what a crocus looks like. Afterwards we took Satchmo & Beckham to the Dusty Rhodes dog park on the edge of Ocean Beach (a place where the sixties lives on in all of its messy glory) where they cavorted with a rainbow coalition of mutts and purebreds and the dogs that the mutts and purebreds own. Drop Casey off at soccer practice and home to watch the neighbors walk the block or two to the bay to watch the sunset. Like we’ve never seen one before….
Unlike most of the country, summer arrives in San Diego this weekend with the PB Block Party, an event that brings tens of thousands of San Diegans into my neighborhood to celebrate the change in daily weather from sixty-eight degrees to seventy-five degrees. We call it the changing of the seasons. According to time-honored rituals, the Block Party means that clothing is shed, copious quantities of alcohol is consumed, girls are ogled, boys are ogled back, and everyone wakes on Sunday morning with a new tattoo (if you’re female and between the ages of 17 and 24 and you don’t have that lower back tattoo between your butt dimples yet, well, you will by 9pm). Officially the Block Party ends at 5:30pm…but since the main drag (Garnet) contains about thirty bars within six blocks, going home isn’t a viable or appealing option, at least until until late in the evening/next morning when the revelers stumble down unfamiliar neighborhood streets trying to find their car which was probably towed away six hours previously.
From my living room deck I can hear at least three bands at any one time. From my rooftop deck I can smell the dope (and I’m six blocks due south). And through my bedroom window, at three in the morning, I will hear at least one person puking in the alley, another peeing on the garage wall, and at least one young lady screaming at her just-dumped boyfriend to “…fucking fuck-off, you fucking fucker“. Ah youth….
Sunday morning we locals will emerge from our overvalued dwellings to pick up the ubiquitous red Solo beer cups and other detritus from the lawn, hose down the urine and the vomit and remind ourselves that we only have three and a half more months of this shit.