Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another day on Dale Street

Simple pleasures and the elegance of urban homesteading in a sub-urban setting is remarkably satisfying. Being in what must have been an early suburb of the city Southpark or what some people call North Hills area of North Park is a pleasure few enjoy in the City of San Diego. Like New Yorkers San Diegans convince themselves that this place is the "best place in the world to live." It takes less self deception here in California but we have our challenges, very different challenges, than New York.

Life mimics fiction here more than back east where life tends to mimic harsh reality. The kindnesses that exist here in California definitely do not exist anywhere back east. At least not to my recollection. I love San Diego. However you either love or hate the pitfalls of living in a society so braising vain and self absorbed that it can sometimes make you nuts. Still, back east you have the same vanity but they are unapologetic and never feel guilty about their self indulgence there - i give you Wall Street.

This lovely old home has been my salvation for the last nine years. I find myself surviving and occasionally thriving here. The terrors of the past alleviated by consistency and continuity of income and reliable friends and stable affordable rent for extraordinary homes.

There is a kindness here that translates across the network of friendships and associations. People who work for quality of life outnumber those who do not. Ignorance runs roughshod over bright and inspiring people but I suppose that is a global problem. I had never seen so many sloppy pig like people and incomplete tasks before I arrived in San Diego. And I had never seen apathy in construction, from doctors offices to coffee houses and restaurants San Diego has always been" laid back." Missing moldings, gaps in wall joints, dirty corners and filthy bathrooms were common here and it does not take much looking to find them still today - even in the most lovely of neighborhoods. I have decided to find it charming. Running into these laid back care free (careless) people of the region is hardly terrorists but they reflect the good nature and priorities of the people. What they lack in interior design they make up for in warmth and pure laziness. Lazy people are always friendly.

Today San Diego resists the horrors of urban blight and suburban decay by retaining its value by which it escapes the national disaster of middle class poverty. Many people who come here do not make it here. I almost did not, but I saw no choice to leave. And though this choice was real I stuck it out and stabilized my life with a creativity and ambitious fervor that in hindsight I am very grateful for.

Now I face being and "older" American and that presents a whole different set of challenges here in Southern California. To be old here is to be unwanted they say. Some reality might validate that claim but life of the East coast was simply too hard and simply too nasty to tolerate. I am glad I left. My friends here are more real and I feel as though my efforts in these relationships are paying off not only for me but for them. The return does come back to me every time from these dear folks but it always comes back sometime.

I try to allow people to bring to my table what they will. No demands and no expectations. That can be a dangerous prospect in a place where so few people are well rounded and broadly educated. Everyone voluntarily forgets that Southern California is the deep south of the west and we have our share of narrowly focused workers who know little more than their jobs.

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